Author: Adam Selzer
Publication: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Expected Release Date: August 26th 2014
Pre-order or buy on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks
A committed slacker enlists the help of his best friend (who may or may not be the devil) to get his act together in this novel filled with humor, awkwardness, and honesty, ideal for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.Leon Harris isn't exceptional and he isn't popular. He's the kind of guy that peaked in middle school, when once upon a time he was in the gifted program and on the fast track to Ivy League glory.Now, a high school senior, he's a complete slacker who spends his time hanging out in a third-rate ice cream parlor with his best friend, Stan, a guy who (jokingly, Leon thinks) claims to be Satan. Committed to his sloth, Leon panics when he finds out that Anna, the love of his life aka middle school girlfriend, might be moving back to town.Determined to get his act together, Leon asks Stan for help. Stan gives him a few seemingly random and mysterious assignments. Date a popular girl. Listen to Moby-Dick, the audiobook. Find the elusive white grape slushee. Join the yearbook committee.As each task brings Leon one step away from slacker city and one step closer to Anna, he starts to wonder if maybe he shouldn't have promised Stan his soul after all.
Very much at the beginning, I was hesitant to read this novel being that it tackles topics such as Satan and demonic worship, however, once I began reading it, I couldn't quite get the thought out of my head! I was hooked! Play Me Backwards got me reading forward!
"I first met the dark lord when I was nine."
So the story starts with Leon as he narrates how he met Stan, who he believes is actually Satan. Stan is a genius and knows his way to things and somehow Leon respects him. After Anna leaves to study in England, Leon becomes a total slacker, not caring about his grades or his life. Then the news about Anna visiting starts to burn and everyone is curious whether Leon and her would get back together. This is where all the weird stuf starts to happen as Stan asks Leon for different missions and Leon couldn't decline because he's the dark lord. But he has to keep up a nice impression before Anna comes back home.
"Stan always makes it sound like people in hell have a pretty good time when they aren't being stabbed in the ass with pitchforks."
Play Me Backwards is a book full of dark humor edging on rude but it works in such an awesome way that everything that's going on, from the sex to the simple things such as hanging out in the basement of the Ice Cave seems incredibly fascinating to me. It's not a story that blows your mind like dystopian novels or singles out the idea of boy meets girl and they fall in love with each other. This coming of age novel brings forth the notion that we are all pretty much like Leon, learning to accept mistakes and moving forward with life. He deals with the quirky people in his life and trying to navigate through it without exerting so much effort.
"Your ninth grade girlfriend is coming back to the States, and you're afraid she won't like you anymore now that aren't listening to opera."
I really really loved this novel for it's simplicity and it's complexity. It's a book full of awkward, weird and out of this world situations, courtesy of Stan, my love, my heart breaks and soars for him. Like please, Adam Selzer, find one for me! HAHAHA! It's mix of humor, interesting and serious situations was molded up into this amazing novel, I'm actually left laughing every time I turn a freaking page, like, is it even possible? I also really had a good time laughing at Leon while he has fun with Paige yet he couldn't stop thinking about Anna. What a douche! HAHAHA!
The book seems to be character driven, it may be for the better or worse, but it does pay a lot of attention to what the characters are doing, and that's what's so great about it. From the first page, I was already sucked in by the power of Stan and Leon, and that already says something.
"Maybe I was a pretty good catch, by certain very low standards."
I keep on tweeting Adam Selzer before that he's a genius. I just feel bad that I haven't posted my review out of sheer speechlessness and feels. The book grabs you and allows you to gravitate towards its characters without making you think of too complicated stuff outside of the story. It just wants you to focus on it, really. Which brings me back to the fact that ADAM SELZER IS A GENIUS!
Play Me Backwards takes you into this realm of trust, friendship and comedic relief that you would remember till you leave this world. You might even meet Stan sometime. But seriously, don't. HAHA! *winks*
About The Author:
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Adam Selzer's first book was HOW TO GET SUSPENDED AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE (now available in a "Now With More Swearing") edition, his next one is PLAY ME BACKWARDS (for satanic young adults), and his best known is probably I KISSED A ZOMBIE AND I LIKED IT, a Twilight satire that was not marketed as a satire.
He also writes the SMART ALECK'S GUIDE series and has published a bunch of Chicago history/ghostlore books.
You can also find him under the name SJ Adams, the name he used for SPARKS: THE EPIC, COMPLETELY TRUE BLUE (ALMOST) HOLY QUEST OF DEBBIE, which one a Stonewall honor and made the YALSA popular paperback list.