Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Changing Michael-Jeff Schilling

Changing Michael
Jeff Schilling
Bancroft Press, Oct 15, 2014, $21.95
ISBN: 9781610881227

Alexander High School student Matthew is a hedonist who enjoys challenges as long as the adventure proves fun for him and avoids relegating him to the social outcast status of the bad weird lowlifes.  His brilliance lies in his ability to project friendship by faking interest while caring for only one person, himself; even his mom falls for his seemingly compassionate facade. 

While his friend and peer at the highest plateau in the teen hierarchy, Jack thinks he is crazy speaking to a nonentity; as an act of kindness Matthew decides to mentor Michael on being in and how to get others like parents to do your bidding as if it is their idea.  As Matthew befriends his subject’s estranged dad and younger half-sister Chrissy, his Changing Michael project seems helpless.

This is an intriguing teen character study of the changing relationship between a king of the hill BMOC and the beneath the food chain cesspool dweller.  Unlikable Matthew comes across as a poor cross between Bueller and Cher (of Clueless) because he lacks their good-natured charm; while Michael is cleverly captured as an apparent pathetic loser who looks forward to getting out of Alexander HS prison. 

Harriet Klausner

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