Dear Steven Goldman,

December 9, 2009

Two Parties, One Tux (and a very short film about The Grapes of Wrath) – Steven Goldman – 320 pages

“Mitchell Wells may not survive eleventh grade. He really only has one friend, his best friend, David. His normally decent grade point average is in limbo due to a slightly violent, somewhat inappropriate Claymation film. And girls…well, does hanging out with his sister count? When David tells Mitchell he’s gay, Mitchell’s okay with it—but it still seems to change things. Since David’s not out to anyone else, the guys agree to be set up with prom dates. But then one of the most popular girls in school decides she must date Mitchell, and he goes from zero to two girlfriends in sixty seconds. From his pending English grade to his floundering friendship to his love life (the one thing that’s taken a bizarre turn for the better), Mitchell is so confused, he’ll be lucky if he lasts another week in high school. And then there’s the prom….” – from

As much as I try not to, I find that I do judge books by their covers, which is why I didn’t pick up Two Parties, One Tux until it came out in paperback.  The silly-looking hardcover that I hadn’t glanced twice at suddenly seemed moderately interesting–then I read the back, and decided it sounded like a fun time.  Lucky thing I did, or I would have missed out on one of my favorite books of the year!

It’s hard to make a slice-of-life school story like this one stick out among all the other school stories out there, but your prose is light and has great flow, your characters are both witty and adorably awkward by turns, and your portrayal of the way high school can either squelch the will to learn out of a kid or drive them to sudden bouts of possibly-rule-breaking creativity (or sometimes both at once) reminds me so much of my own experience that I found myself picturing these scenes happening at my old alma mater. (Katie, if you’re reading this post, I hope you’re thinking of the bridge of ronk right now, and maybe also Wheel of Jeopardopaly.)

You’ve written a real gem here, one that I think is flying a bit under the radar, and I can only hope more people take notice of it soon.  Five stars for you!



Wanna check out this title for yourself?  Try the Indie Bound or ABC bookstore finders!

Books this year: 100

Pages this year: 20,282