Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
You probably won't read a funnier book than Skippy Dies this year. Told in three volumes, set in the grand Dublin institution of Seabrook School for Boys and featuring a cast of awkward teenagers looking for love and respect alike, this is much like The Rotters Club in its broad comedy drawn by the social awkwardness and self-delusion that teenagers operate under.
Ruprecht Van Doren is an overweight genius whose hobbies include very difficult maths and the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Daniel 'Skippy' Juster is his roommate. When Skippy falls for Lori, the Frisbee-playing Siren from the girls' school next door, suddenly all kinds of people take an interest, including Carl, part-time drug-dealer and official school psychopath. While his teachers battle over modernisation, and Ruprecht attempts to open a portal into a parallel universe, Skippy, in the name of love, is heading for a showdown- in the form of a fatal doughnut-eating race that only one person will survive.
The book is relentlessly energetic, and never outstays its welcome throughout the three volumes. Despite the trag-comedic nature of the plot, the book is fun and brimming with humour, and bounces along throughout.