Saturday, September 18, 2010

Playing it Cool by Joaquin Dorfman

Sebastian's whole life is built around playing it cool. He's the go-to guy for everyone, no matter what problem they have. He can arrange secret abortions without the girl's pro-life mother finding out; he can talk a suicidal brother off the roof. He can even set you up with the girl of your dreams, get you a new wardrobe, and get you in to the hottest restaurant in town. He's used to solving problems for other people. Now his best friend Jeremy has a problem: he's just found out that his father isn't really his father. In order to find out more about his real father, Jeremy and Sebastian go to visit him - and switch places, so that Sebastian can find out more and Jeremy won't get so involved. But while playing the role of his son, Sebastian starts to feel very connected to the man himself. Could this man also be Sebastian's long-lost father? And how can Sebastian maintain his coolness when everything starts falling apart?

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be "twisty." I admit that, as someone who likes to guess where the story is going, it 'got' me a few times. Dorman did a good job in setting up Sebastian's controlled life so that I could feel it when it starts to run out of control. It's a nice book on the idea of "you can't con a con," as Sebastian finds out the price of the way he lives his life and how he views people. As the walls he's built around himself start to come down, he shows a sad vulnerability that he's been trying to hide and not deal with. The plot seems a bit implausible at times (in much the same way that the movie "Brick" does), but most of the issues were addressed head-on in the book, which went a long way to my willing to suspend belief for the rest.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Dishes by Rich Wallace
Trading Faces by Julia DeVillers
Burning City by Ariel and Joaquin Dorfman

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