Burger Wuss is a young adult revenge tale by M.T. Anderson. I’ve read his science fiction before (see Feed) and loved it.
This one isn’t sf, but contemporary fiction in which our hero gets a job at a fast-food enterprise to get back at the jerk who stole his girlfriend. There are shenanigans, makeouts, a horribly ill-advised softball game and unsympathetic adult characters. It all works and Anderson is again, really good at the voice. I like listening to the narrator even when he’s fucking up.
Also, I know good YA books aren’t preachy, and generally I dislike books with “messages” but I really like how one of the big takeaways from the book is [SPOILER ALERT] that everyone makes choices and girlfriends don’t get stolen like a pair of pants. It’s not done in afterschool special style, it’s just there.
So it turns out the reason I was a little underwhelmed by Collective Punishment was because I’d somehow skipped the DMZ book preceding it, M.I.A.
This is the volume where Matty Roth deals with the aftermath of getting involved in politics and where he makes the decision to get back to what he originally went into NYC to do: journalism. I’m not feeling bad for all of his poor choices any more, because he’s trying to set things right. When he talked about that kind of stuff in Collective Punishment I didn’t have the background of this new decision and it all felt weak. Of course, the people he’s dealing with in that book didn’t get to see all the stuff that happened in this one either, so maybe I had a more authentic DMZ-inhabitant experience when I read it with this hole in my knowledge.
Before that redemption-filled part of the story, there are a great bunch of supershort vignettes with different artists.