Synopses & Reviews
To the Bozo, the clown who sits inside the cage above the dunk tank, everyone is a "mark." Once he has zeroed in on his victim, the Bozo comes up with the perfect wisecrack something funny enough to make people stop and listen, and cruel enough to hook the mark. Now the mark is bent on revenge, and he'll buy however many balls he needs to hit the target and see the Bozo plunge into the water. It's a game that fascinates Chad, who lives on the Jersey shore, where the boardwalk turns into an amusement park every summer. He wishes he could shout at the world from the safety of a cage his dad ran out on him and his mom, and now everyone seems convinced that Chad will wind up a loser, too. He's determined to get a job playing the Bozo, something he knows he'd be good at. Suddenly, Chad finds himself thrown into a strange and twisted world, where humor has far more power than he ever imagined.
With a crackling plot and smart, funny dialogue, Dunk pulls readers along on a journey that exposes a universal truth: We all need to laugh.
"The slightly tawdry world of boardwalk arcades along the New Jersey shore is just one of the attractions of Lubar's (Hidden Talents) engrossing novel. From the first moment soon-to-be-11th-grader Chad hears the boardwalk clown hurling insults ('His voice ripped the air like a chain saw,' the novel begins), the teen is mesmerized. The 'bozo,' whose witty barbs lure passersby to try and drop him into a water tank, represents all that Chad is not: 'Nobody ignored him. Nobody looked down on him or told him he was a loser.' The boy adds working as a bozo to his list of goals-along with seeing a certain girl again-for what he hopes will be 'the greatest summer of his life.' But plans go awry when a rival beats him to the romance punch, his best friend is struck with a life-threatening illness, and Chad has run-ins not only with the police but also with the bozo himself, a troubled man who sublets a room in Chad's house. As Chad surmounts each challenge, he shakes off the shadow of his deadbeat absent father and learns the difference between 'a laugh that can cut you up worse than a knife' and laughter that heals. Lubar ably charts a watershed summer between boyhood and manhood; the boardwalk bozo serves as a deft metaphor for the power and control for which adolescents hunger. Ages 12-up. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Chad finds a whole new summer occupationhe wants to be the Bozo, the clown who sits inside the dunk tank and goads people into taking a shot. What could be better than using his razor-sharp wit against a random stranger? But Chad soon discovers hes entered a strange and twisted world where humor packs a loaded punch.
About the Author
David Lubar grew up in New Jersey and now lives next door in Pennsylvania. Armed with a degree in philosophy from Rutgers University and no marketable job skills, he spent several years as a starving writer before accidentally discovering that he knew how to program computers. He is now a full-time writer and the author of eleven books for teens and young readers, including Dunk (Clarion Books), Flip (Tor), and Wizards of the Game (Philomel). David Lubar lives with his wife; they have one highly intelligent daughter and three idiosyncratic cats.