Reviews for This might hurt a bit (J/Book)

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Acerbic teen Kirby, grieving the death of his sister, usually spends his nights watching Die Hard and writing in a secret notebook. When he takes a night off to go cow tipping with his two best friends, they set off a cascade of rollicking events that pit them against school authorities and bullies. This fast-paced romp features a cast of hilariously offbeat characters and strikes a balance between comedy and pathos. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

An angry teen works out his issues.Tomorrow will be the 1-year anniversary of Kirby's worst day: the day his sister Melanie died. Since then Kirby has withdrawn from the world, letting his sorrow fester as he watches Die Hard over and over again. The only personal connections Kirby still maintains are his friendships with Jake and PJ. PJ is popular and likable; Jake, on the other hand, is "a real asshole." The three boys get together for an evening of mischief, and things quickly go south. The next day at school Kirby struggles to avoid not just his own feelings about what happened, but also the school jocks looking for payback. The ensuing novel effectively externalizes Kirby's emotional arc as he twists and turns to push himself forward. Kirby's sullen anger could easily become repetitive, but the author cuts it with plenty of humor and a few moments of clarity, creating an engaging read. Less artfully drawn are the tertiary characters: Kirby's parents and the school administrators are one-note obstacles for Kirby and his friends to move around but never truly engage with. In the end, Kirby achieves his presumed catharsis and readers will feel for him, but the story isn't as rich as it could have been. PJ is the only character whose ethnicity is mentioned (he's Puerto Rican); all others can be assumed white.An irreverent journey through despondency with some minor flaws. (Fiction. 12-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.