Their escapades lead to hilarious and often suspenseful confrontations with their school principal, detectives, a dead history teacher, thieving older boys, and of course their own parents and futures, as their impending graduation is as threatened as their lives. Pettijohn crafts a compelling narrative, with strong scenes and dialogue, that pits these well-drawn friends against real dangers and an array of eccentric characters, while exploring their camaraderie with that bittersweet edge of a time of transition—even without the thriller trappings, after senior year their lives will never be the same.
Pettijohn also captures, with wit and specificity, the cultural moment of Napster, Xanax, MySpace, and the Columbine shootings while finding pathos in the friends’ upbringings and expectations. This blend of sharp-elbowed nostalgia (including a paean to Fuddruckers), boisterous humor, sociocultural realism, and crime story is potent, as Pettijohn explores the underlying themes of friendship, community, youthful recklessness as these four edge toward something scarier than gangsters: adulthood.
Takeaway: Sharply funny story of high schoolers whose pranks pit them against the crime world.
Comparable Titles: T. Geronimo Johnson’s Welcome to Braggsville, Amelia Kahaney’s All the Best Liars
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-