Josh Swensen is not your average 17-year-old. At the age of two, he was figuring out algebraic equations with colored magnetic numbers. He is a prodigy who only wants to make the world a better place. Joshs wish comes true when his virtual alter ego, Larry, becomes a huge media sensation. Larry has his own Web site where he posts sermons on anti-consumerism and has a large following of adults and teens. Meanwhile, Larrys identity is a mystery to everyone. While it seems as if the whole world is trying to figure out Larrys true identity, Josh feels trapped inside his own creation. What will happen to the world, and to Larry, if he is exposed?
VOYA - Lynn Evarts
This story will speak clearly to many teens looking to create their own place in the world—those who have not been able to make their mark as jocks or cheerleaders or even geeks in the rough world of high school cliques. Josh's rocket to anonymous fame is a fantasy for many teens today. Tashjian skillfully uses humor and provides one of the most honest voices in young adult literature since Steve York in Rob Thomas's Rats Saw God ...Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses. Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12.
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
The framing device, in which the writer pretends that Josh gave her the text, is unnecessary, but aside from that this is an outstanding YA novel. Tashjian, the author of Tru Confessions and Multiple Choice, has penned a real winner here. —Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students.
Children's Literature - Norah Piehl
The plot sometimes walks just this side of absurdity, and some figures (like Josh's advertising executive stepfather) are conveniences rather than developed characters. However, Josh's story, and particularly Larry's sermons, are excellent starting points for discussion, and may even inspire teens on their own path to political activism.
[This] funny, thoughtful novel takes on some sophisticated issues.... Tashjian not only gives readers a good primer on materialism (and Thoreau), she also makes them think about a different kind of activism. Ages 12-up.
School Library Journal - Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Gr 8 Up. Josh is bright, articulate, idealistic, and in love with Beth, the girl next door and his best friend since sixth grade. Afraid to declare himself-especially in light of Beth's flirtations with a socially connected but intellectually suspect football player-he pours his energy into a clever Web site, through which his alter ego, Larry, advocates introspection, tolerance, and anticonsumerism....A terrific read with a credible and lovable main character.
Booklist - Ilene Cooper
Starred Review. Gr. 7-10. Tashjian does something very fresh here, which will hit teens at a visceral level. She takes the natural idealism young people feel, personalizes it in the character of Josh/Larry, and shows that idealism transformed by unintended consequences. The book's frank discussion about topics paramount to kids--celebrity worship, consumerism, and the way multinational corporations shape our lives--is immediate, insightful, and made even more vivid because it's wrapped in the mystery of Larry.
Tashjian's inventive story is a thrilling read, fast-paced with much fast food for thought about our consumer-oriented pop culture. A parallel narrative about Beth, Josh's childhood friend and secret love, works nicely, too. The voice is clear, the ending satisfying. Teenagers will eat this one up.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by this book sucked Awful book This book clearly made no difference. The kid is a sociopath who thinks 20,000 people will change the world by driving businesses into bankruptcy, he thought that faking his death would help his cause and he clearly didn't have a big enough cause... Read More
Rated of 5
by smiley Good book Really, this is totally worth reading; great morals, sometimes it's a bit slow or annoying but then it pulls you back in.
Rated of 5
by Aloeverza This sucks. The Gospel According to Larry is a trashy, poorly written novel. The author makes her first mistake by casting as her main character a maniacal seventeen-year-old who should have been tested for Down's Syndrome/ Asperger's/ Autism long ago. She... Read More
Rated of 5
by matt Is it real? I really liked the book, and read it a second time for school, but I really wonder if the whole thing about it being real is a hoax. If so, it was a well done one, i went on thegospelaccordingtolarry.com the other day for school research and found... Read More
Rated of 5
by cody the gospel according to larry What I want to know is were these events true, I've been to the web site but I think it would be hard to pull this whole thing to be fake so I think it is based on a real story.
Rated of 5
by Justin Gregory The Gospel According to Larry In the first of two brilliantly written novels by Janet Tashjian, The Gospel According to Larry, the story's center character, Josh Swensen breaks out of his quiet shell. A genius of a boy, Josh is a loner in his school, but still finds a way to... Read More
'Rarely does a writer come up with a first novel so assured, so powerful and engaging that you can be pretty sure that you will want to read everything this author is capable of writing'.
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