There is a mysterious new student at Fitzgerald High, Jake Garret. He seems to have it all figured out. He looks like he just stepped off the cover of the J. Crew catalog, he is the best kicker the football team has ever had, and best of all, he hosts the party to go to every Friday night. All the guys want to be like him and all the girls want to date him, but Jake only has eyes for Didi, the girlfriend of alpha male and quarterback, Todd Buckley . As Jake's friend Rick gets to know him, he at first admires him, then starts to like him, but soon grows to fear for him as he learns Jake's dangerous secret. From beloved young adult author Gordon Korman, comes a new look at age-old themes about popularity, acceptance, and human nature.
Dedicated to "Jay and Daisy," Korman's (Maxx Comedy: The Funniest Kid in America) smart novel imagines The Great Gatsby with a cast of characters from Fitzgerald High. The Jay Gatsby figure is nerd turned bon vivant Jake Garrett; Daisy Buchanan has become Didi, the impossibly beautiful girl who is dating Todd Buckley (i.e., Tom Buchanan) despite his infidelities. Jake's weekly parties escalate in size and intensity, all part of his plan to get closer to Didi, whom he tutored in math several years before at a different school and has idealized ever since. In the midst of the banality and posturing of one keg party after another, two mature characters emerge: narrator Rick Paradis, who seems to not fit in with the crowd from the beginning, and the remarkable Dipsy, who starts off as comic relief but turns out to be perhaps the wisest person in the book: he alone understands that high school is, after all, just a few years, and that there is much more of life to come. Korman's prose hits its mark: a hung-over bunch of football players becomes "statuary in shoulder pads," the noise at a party rises "up to the point of pain" and the mournful hero is "unmade, not by fire, but by cold, smooth indifference." Unfortunately, a final chapter tacks on a happy ending and somewhat dulls the story's impact. Ages 12-up.