C. D. Payne is Alive.
Okay, I'm about to get real honest with you...and just know before I do, that this is me clearly showcasing my own ignorance. About six years ago, a good friend let me borrow her copy of Youth in Revolt. It is my recollection that after telling me I'd like it, she also mentioned that it was sad because C. D. Payne had actually died, and this was his only book--his mom, having discovered the book postmortem, had the work published. I mention this little dialogue, not to embarrass said friend, but to express how sincerely bummed I was after actually reading Youth in Revolt, when I found myself absolutely smitten with it.
This last year I was reunited with the rest of my belongings, including my own copy of Youth in Revolt. I read it again, re-watched the movie version, and for whatever reason took my desire for more Twispian adventures online. [This is where my stupidity is blatantly obvious.] I discovered that not only is C. D. Payne alive, he's been writing this whole time I've been wishing he was writing. I'm such an idiot. Here is probably the funniest book I had ever read, one where I'd laugh out loud while reading to the point of people around me expecting an explanation as to what was so funny, and I just couldn't translate the situation. Over the last six years I've suggested Youth in Revolt to anyone with an open mind and who would listen, but I had made one huge mistake. I did what so many of my students do. I simply heard something and I just believed it without any sort of follow up.
Youth in Revolt follows the adventures of Nick Twisp, a teenager who finds himself immersed in one mess after another. The craziness that ensues every single time Nick attempts to right a situation or manipulate some misguided "friend" for his own benefit is completely unbelievable and completely hilarious. The storyline is mostly ridiculous and I love every single moment of it. But not every aspect of Nick's life is outlandish. The maturation process of falling in love for the first time reads sincere, as does his awkwardness and insecurities over his looks, and body, most especially when he compares himself to his nemesis, Trent. This book is probably not for everyone. There is frequent cursing and referencing of sex, but if you have a sense of humor that incorporates the use of both, you'll be just fine.
As a side note, I was disappointed with the movie version. Michael Cera was pretty perfect as Nick Twisp, especially as the Francois persona, and I also liked Justin Long as Sheeni's brother, but there was little more that I found worthwhile. I felt like they had taken everything that I loved about the story and just put it on fast forward. I wish they could have split the movie into three parts, allowing Nick Twisp's character to really get in and fester inside you, just like the book did.
Revolting Youth is Book 4 of the Twisp Series (Youth in Revolt covers books 1-3), and it continues where Youth in Revolt leaves off with Nick trying to control his fate along with everyone else whom he encounters.
Throughout the entire series the characters live a life that is vastly different from "the norm" and that is exactly why I like it. I read to experience life outside my own, and C. D. Payne does not disappoint. I wish I had the nerve to do half the shit Nick Twisp did before he was sixteen.