Tom Henderson (a.k.a. King Dork, Chi-mo, Hender-fag, and Sheepie) is a typical American high school loser until he discovers the book, The Catcher in the Rye, that will change the world as he knows it. When Tom discovers his deceased father's copy of the Salinger classic, he finds himself in the middle of several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll. And it all looks like it's just the tip of a very odd iceberg of clues that may very well unravel the puzzle of his father's death and, oddly, reveal the secret to attracting semi-hot girls.Being in a band could possibly be the secret to the girl thing, but good luck finding a drummer who can count to four.More
"The author's biting humor and skillful connection of events will keep pages turning." (Publishers Weekly)
"This dazzling novel will linger long in readers' memories." (School Library Journal)
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Entertaining story of a self-confessed 'dork'
Tom / King Dork is reassuringly amusing, witty and capable.
I quite liked a scene where someone is beaten up!! That sounds awful, doesn't it (you don't see anything!), but it's the context of why it happens and how it takes place over a few scenes. And the matter-of-factness about it as well.
There are moments as Tom is trying to connect with his (dead) father through his books that I found quite moving.
He knows what he is. He knows WHO he is. Though he can't make up his mind what his band name (or first album) should be called.
A simple enough story at heart, it pulls lots of strands together into the general plot of 'teenage geek tries to discover more about his dead father while pursuing girls and rock 'n' roll fame'.
Tom refers to himself as 'King Dork', and discovers one day a book owned by his father containing notes and codes. Wanting to learn more about the dad he doesn't know, he tries to solve the puzzle. It's amusing that it happens to be the book that every teacher raves about - Salinger's 'Catcher in the Rye' - not one of Tom's favourites...
King Dork is a protagonist who doesn't really care what you think of him, unlike many you read about, he's pretty happy within his own skin, but he does want to know about his dad, and he DOES want to know more about girls!
I found the talk of 'Catcher' hilarious, we all know teachers who rave about certain books or their own passions as if they are life and death. And I almost laughed out loud at the constantly-changing band names and albums that the group come up with. The end of the audiobook had a bonus - several of their songs sung for us! Brilliant.
There are some great secondary characters, with one teacher who likes to confront misbehaving students in the school toilets a particular standout.
The audiobook is a great format for this kind of story and narration, a 'first person', with a friendly and knowing (yet still likeable) young male voice as Tom/Chi-Mo (I won't explain that nickname).
With some sexual content, this is one for older readers, aged 13/14 and above.
- K. J. Noyes