Skippy Dies found itself on many best books of the year lists in 2010, including the New York Times and Washington Post. Among ALA publications and awards it was chosen for the Booklist Editors’ Choice: Adult Books 2010 and the Booklist Editors’ Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults 2010, and an Alex Award nomination. Both Barnes and Noble and Amazon celebrated it as a best fiction book of the year (#21 on the Amazon top 100 list).
So, although we did not review Skippy Dies in 2010 itself, I was happy when one of our reviewers read it recently and offered to write a review for this blog. This is not a book for every teen, but for those who enjoy long, layered novels, and have a sense of humor, this book is a gold mine.
Adult/High School– A story that leads readers to unexpected revelations both fascinating and horrifying. The novel begins with the tragicomic description of 14-year-old Skippy’s death. While engaged in a donut-eating contest with his brilliant, obese roommate, Skippy falls from his chair, writing “Tell Lori” on the floor with a jelly donut before taking his final breath. This is a book for readers who find this incident both terrible and hilarious. It will be hundreds of pages before the author returns to the scene of Skippy’s death, and he fills them with the crazy schoolboy high jinks of a Dublin prestigious boarding school, Seabrook College , as well as ruminations on topics as varied as the role of Irish soldiers in World War I and the politics of intimate relationships. Skippy’s schoolmate Carl also loves Lori, but possesses a dark and twisted nature. Skippy’s roommate, Ruprecht, involves all of the boys in his quest to escape to another dimension. And Lori, lovely and mysterious to the boys, is hopelessly clueless in her interactions with them. Then there are the teachers, who have an entire scandalous back story that hovers in the background until it finally breaks through with dramatic consequences. Teens who are intrigued by the puzzle of Skippy’s death, and undaunted by thick, layered novels, will want to give this one a try.–Diane Colson, New Port Richey Library, FL