James "Hercules" Martino has until the end of the summer (a.k.a. two weeks) to accomplish the
twelve tasks given to him by his Uncle Anthony. The tasks will take him to the far reaches of Baltimore, lead him to a Beautiful and Unattainable Woman, and change the way he sees his past, present, and future.
Spare in words, but abundant in big ideas and laugh out loud humor, James Proimos has crafted a novel for any teenager who's ever had a complicated relationship with a parent. In other words, everyone.
Time and again, picture-book creator Proimos has demonstrated a rock-solid sense of humor and outside-the-box thinking. His first book for teens is no different, opening a promising new chapter in his career. Sixteen-year-old James Martino, nicknamed Hercules, is spending the summer in Baltimore with his Uncle Anthony, who has given him a list of 12 tasks to accomplish (one even involves cleaning a stable). It's meant to stave off boredom and maybe help Hercules deal with the recent death of his father, a beloved self-help author and talk-show host. Beloved by all but Hercules, that is, who eulogizes his father thusly: "He was an ass." In chapters lasting just a page or so, Hercules gives a blunt and blisteringly funny account of his misadventures ("Horses are running everywhere. We are in the jeep. Chasing them. Through streets. Through other people's farms. Through hell and high water, really"), which revolve around his efforts to reconnect with a "Strange Beautiful Unattainable Woman" from the train to Baltimore. Proimos fully inhabits the mind and voice of his hero, whose almost mythic journey offers moments hilarious, heartbreaking, and triumphant. Ages 14 up.