With the big title comes a big bang from debut author Ramsey Dean. The CoolKids: An Emotional Hardcore Odyssey (Or The Pros and Cons of Maintaining Veganity in an Increasingly Carnivorous World) is a gut-busting work of staggering genius, full of characters that pop off the page in a suburbia more surreal than the wizards and vampires that currently dominate the genre; the title itself (if you're wondering) a spot-on nod to the emo decade's reliance on overwrought, dramatically parenthetical song titles.
Burning brighter through the storyline's punk rock fireworks of fact and fiction is a comedic examination of cliques and prejudice that unleashes the more pervasive perplexities of extremism and fundamentalism. Like a mash-up of A Confederacy of Dunces and To Kill a Mockingbird at the Warped Tour, the author's engaging style of prose transcends, only to be broken by laugh-out-loud moments that build the Trojan horse that is delivered in a wry fashion in this epic Bildungsroman. Despite the opportunity for a plethora of footnotes and diversions favored by new movement authors like David Foster Wallace, Junot Diaz, and Jennifer Egan, former real-life music executive Ramsey Dean (who has worked with genre vanguards Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional, Silverstein, Hawthorne Heights and many more) illustrates this alternate reality in a colloquial yet authoritative first hand style that illustrates life among its devotees and what happens when any culture becomes weaponized through the lens of towering protagonist, Bartholomew Moriarty.
Well played, well written, and wonderfully snarcastic, The CoolKids: An Emotional Hardcore Odyssey (Or The Pros and Cons of Maintaining Veganity in an Increasingly Carnivorous World) appears headed for Required Reading or the Banned Books list, from both the would-be revolutionaries whose world it inhabits, as well as the author's much larger target, which masterfully yields the novel's quietly satisfying and exquisitely explosive conclusion.
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Published May 12, 2011