I love books that make me laugh. Not just sniff, smile, head-shake, move on. I mean, holding the book frozen in mid-air as my eyes squeeze shut with tears starting to fall, shaking with silent laughter. Yes, I look like a maniac when this happens, especially in public. And you know what? I couldn’t care less what people think. When a book makes me laugh that hard, I just go with it. If I’m driving and listening to an audiobook when that happens? Forget about it. The fun thing is, I never know when it’s going to strike. I can be sitting there reading this fun romp of a novel, and then bam! Drenched in laughter.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a somewhat unique sense of humor. I can’t tell you exactly what will trigger that stomach-hurting laughter. It has happened with a lot of different types of books including memoirs and kids’ books. At one point Diary of a Wimpy Kid had me in hysterics (for those of you who have read it, I started giggling with “I get that you’re pretty” and by the time one of the trees chipped his tooth because he couldn’t stick his arms out to break his fall, I was toast). Okay, a lot things that make me laugh involve people falling down, but I digress….
I started thinking about the books that have made me crack up, and I’m not going to lie, a lot of them (A) have a teenage male protagonist, (B) contain such a male who is very–ahem–hormonal, and (C) feature a guy who is also, shall we say … endearingly clueless? Combine those elements, and you’ve got a recipe for the funny. Thankfully the YA world has many to choose from. Here are a few that proved particularly memorable for me.
Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford (2010 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)
Carter tends to stutter when confronted with girls (and their chests). He battles Attention Deficit Disorder every minute of every day, unless he gets distracted. You might shake your head in horror at Carter’s ridiculous and misguided attempts to get the girl and be the man. Yet you love him for trying, for being earnest and honest, and you’ll cheer when he finally “gets it.”
Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner (2008 Best Books for Young Adults)
The guy’s parents named him Shakespeare. Shakespeare Shapiro. It’s a good thing he has a terrifically funny (quite raunchy), self-deprecating sense of humor to get him through his many misadventures in high school. I won’t recount my side-splitting moment with this book because it features a topic that is neither appropriate nor legal. Suffice it to say it starts on page 171.
Two Parties, One Tux, And a Very Short Film About the Grapes of Wrath by Steven Goldman
Mitchell is having trouble comprehending all that he has going on: his best and only friend surprises him by coming out of the closet, they are both in trouble for a school project gone awry, and a cute girl suddenly wants to date him. On top of that he ends up at his prom in a white tuxedo. Hilarity ensues. No really, nothing good can come of a white tuxedo. Except perhaps a funny moment for us readers.
So there are the clueless-high-schooler-wrestles-haplessly-with-his-sex-drive books. But what makes me giggle might not be funny to you at all. What books make you ROFL? Let me know in the comments!
— Amy Pelman currently reading The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender