Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner

Olivia is “off boys” for the summer, as she says  After literally walking into her father’s affair with a much younger grad student, she has sworn off the opposite sex while spending the summer at Yale for an arts summer camp.  Instead, she plans to work through her issues by writing a play called Castration Celebration.  Plus, she’s become an expert on eunuchs and castration- she enjoys whipping out random facts about both to freak out her friends and new room mates.  Her play is written as a story-within-a-story and is completely enjoyable on it’s own.  Wizner is a pretty good playwright along with being a great YA author.

What Olivia doesn’t count on is meeting Max, a player extraordinaire, who will do everything in his power to win her over.  Max hasn’t had a relationship that lasted more than two months (and really, the girl had mono for three of those weeks) and plans to hone his acting craft and hook up with tons of girls over the summer.  But when he meets Olivia, he falls head over heels for her.  Her biting wit is actually a match for his and she doesn’t back down like most girls he knows.  Has he finally met his match?  The only problem is that she wants nothing to do with him and makes that quite clear.  Max has never had to fight for the girl he wants and isn’t sure how to handle Olivia.  And Olivia certainly didn’t plan on falling for Max when she swore off guys.  Before the end of their summer arts camp, they will perform Olivia’s play both on and off-stage.  But will they stay true to the ending on the page?

Jake Wizner’s Castration Celebration is a deliciously lewd look at high schoolers left on their own at a college campus over the summer. Wizner captures the voice of high school perfectly and I felt like I knew some of the characters he was creating. Having spent more than my fair share of summers at arts and academic camps, I can attest to the brutally honest characterization that Wizner creates. This is a young adult book at its best (definitely not a middle grade book!) and one I would highly recommend. I just don’t know how comfortable I would feel actually handing it to a young adult. I can already imagine myself blushing.  However, Wizner is a fantastic author and I can’t wait to go back and read Spanking Shakespeare!

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