Gabe, or “Chunk” as he is known by his schoolmates, was under the impression that the money he paid for his (multiple) daily Code Red Mountain Dews from the school vending machine had been funding the school band…something he deeply cared about. Gabe, you see, is a band geek and felt swindled when the School Board (and the new dance team) backhandedly diverted the funds from the vending machine to support hiring a new, large-breasted dance team coach. Add to that, the band will no longer be holding a summer marching camp…and the band instructor, Mr. Shaver, is in some real hot water.
Gabe comes to the realization that he can no longer be the self-deprecating class clown that his classmates are familiar with…that he is familiar with. Being called, “Chunk” by friends, family and teachers is hurtful; being walk on by popular people and told to “ass dance” doesn’t help his situation…and his old mantra, “better laugh than cry” just isn’t working for him anymore. Gabe decides to take charge of his life by eating right, exercising with his ex-body builder grandfather, and leading the charge to take back what rightfully belongs to the school band. “This. Means. War. “
I enjoyed this book. It was quirky and fast-paced. I would recommend this book to Geoff Herbach fans and/or anyone looking for a realistic fiction/comedy set in High School. Fans of An Abundance of Katherines will find this to be similar in humor and flow. This novel begins with a fictional memorandum from an attorney at law and continues from the very beginning of the situation as told by Gabe as if he were being interviewed by said attorney. The humor and language is somewhat crude, and is therefore not appropriate for younger audiences. Overall, this book has positive messages of friendship and leadership. Also, it is not often that one finds a novel about struggling with body image from the male standpoint. Grades 9+
Themes: Band, body image, cheerleaders, contemporary, exercise, family, fiction, friendship, funding, high school, humor, obesity, overweight, police, pop, realistic fiction, soda, teen weight loss, YA, young adult