By Coert Voorhees
Available now from Disney-Hyperion
High school senior David Ellison has an audition for Julliard in nineteen days. Most of his classmates at Oak Fields Prep want to go to Stanford, the ivy they live in the shadow of. But Stanford has decided to admit one student only from each of the local prep schools. His classmates are melting down over their college essays and David is starting to suspect that he might be a big fish in a small pond.
David acts like a realistic teen boy. He's capable of compassion and romance, but he's often self-centered and thoughtless. Luckily, the people in his life call him out when he's acting like a jerk. This is not a book where people find the protagonist's worst qualities charming. It is a book where people often find their worst qualities on display.
A rogue provocateur known only as The Artist has been posting bulletins revealing the secrets of the richest, most popular, most perfect seniors. It's cruel behavior, but it's the background to David's coming-of-age.
The current school play is The Great Gatsby and David is playing Nick Carraway. I initially started thinking about Gatsby since the new movie is coming out soon. Although, some things didn't seem to fit. But that was because the adaptation they're performing is some odd interpretation wherein Nick kisses Daisy. At first, it seems like David is just going to be an observer of The Artist bringing anarchy to the Oak Fields' campus. As things continue, David begins to assert his own narrative. He has an epiphany. The Artist remains unmasked.
LUCKY FOOLS is a terrific contemporary bildungsroman. I know many people who avoid fiction about rich people, but the kids in LUCKY FOOLS are often aware of their privilege. The male protagonist will appeal to male readers, and there are a number of female secondary characters who have interests other than David. There is a love triangle, but plays out in an organic and original way. I particularly recommend LUCKY FOOLS for theater fans.