Synopses & Reviews
It all starts with an assignment. Leon's "gifted and talented" class has to make educational videos for the sixth and seventh graders. Leon originally chooses "sex ed" as his subject in the hopes of showing a flash of boob. But as time goes on, his project starts to mean something. He wants to tell the younger kids that puberty is tough, but what they're going through is normal.
After researching the avant-garde movement, Leon crafts his video in the style of Fellini: La Dolce Pubert. It's deeply disturbing yet comforting.
But when the gifted program's director sees it, she suspends Leonand he finds himself at the center of a townwide debate over censorship. Who gets to decide how far is too far?
"Wisecracking Leon Harris narrates Selzer's debut novel with heavy doses of sarcasm, smart aleck wit and adolescent frustration. Now an eighth grader, Leon participates in an advanced studies activity along with several of his equally intelligent, socially outcast friends. For their first assignment, each advanced student must film an educational health or safety 'advisory video' to be shown to the younger middle-school students. Leon signs up for the sex-ed video and decides to deviate from boring anatomical line drawings and cheesy cartoons in favor of a surreal, avant-garde video inspired by Fellini (Leon's film is entitled La Dolce Pubert) and Salvador Dal. He features a montage of classical nudes 'with close-ups on the good parts' and frank rhyming narration that comes off as quite comical ('We stood against adulthood's door,/ trying to comprehend, and hoping to score'). But the moralistic teacher who heads the gifted program finds Leon's video 'inappropriate' for the student body, and her interference results in Leon's suspension (which naturally sends students' interest in the video skyrocketing). Ultimately Leon achieves victory, as students and faculty alike rally behind him. Readers with a similarly unconventional bent may well empathize with Leon's attitude toward school, his budding relationships and the adults who seemingly don't understand him. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Gifted eighth-grader Leon Harris becomes an instant celebrity when the film he makes for a class project sends him to in-school suspension.
Having made an educational video on the challenges of going through puberty for his class project, Leon learns an unexpected lesson in the process when the school suspends him for its indecent content and members of the town fiercely debate the issue of censorship.
About the Author
Adam Selzer lives in downtown Chicago. In addition to his work as a tour guide and assistant ghost-buster (really), he moonlights as a rock star. Check him out on the Web at www.adamselzer.com.