Selzer, Adam 1980-

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Selzer, Adam 1980-

Personal

Born 1980.

Addresses

Home—Chicago, IL. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Writer and musician. Performer with Adam Selzer and His Revolving-Door All-Stars.

Writings

How to Get Suspended and Influence People, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2008.

I Put a Spell on You, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2008.

Lost and Found, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2009.

Contributor to books, including Weird Chicago: Forgotten History, Strange Legend, and Mysterious Hauntings of the Windy City, two volumes.

Sidelights

Chicago-based writer and musician Adam Selzer is the author of several off-beat books for middle-grade readers, including How to Get Suspended and Influence People, I Put a Spell on You, and Pirates of the Retail Wasteland. Described as a "farcical mystery" by a Kirkus Reviews writer, I Put a Spell on You mixes a list of new vocabulary words with an antic story about a middle-school spelling bee that turns vicious. Like Selzer's other books, it also casts young teens in heroic roles and relegates oldsters such as parents, teachers, and school administrators to the status of "overachievement-obsessed lunatics."

In How to Get Suspended and Influence People readers meet eighth-grade geek Leon Noside Harris, a boy who suffers from the stigma of being a gifted student of very eccentric but brainy parents. When Mrs. Smollet, the teacher of the Gifted Pool students, agrees to allow him to embark on a filmmaking project, Leon's finished project—an open-minded, Fellini-esque sex documentary for middle-graders—gets him both suspended from school and transformed into a classroom hero. In his humorous text, "Selzer manages to capture the voice of a smarter-than-average young teen," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer, and Leon's narrative is rich with what a Publishers Weekly critic described as "heavy doses of sarcasm, smart aleck wit and adolescent frustration." In School Library Journal critic Pat Scales remarked on Selzer's inclusion of "a lesson or two about free speech" in his "funny, fast-paced novel," and Jennifer Mattson maintained in her Booklist review of How to Get Suspended and Influence People that "creative" readers "will appreciate the plot's outrageousness and applaud Leon's commitment to his quirky vision."

Leon returns in Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, as the students of Mrs. Smollet's Gifted Pool turn their attention to the local branch of mega-coffee-shop Wackfords. Film again becomes the tool of choice as the gifted group stages a takeover of Wackfords that they capture on video in order to raise awareness of the commercial sprawl in their community. As if it is not bad enough to be continually mortified by the antics of his braniac, off-the-chart parents, life becomes even more complicated for Leon when the geeky teen attracts the romantic attention of a persistent female classmate. Selzer's "lighter-than-air comedy" will have a special attraction for "tweener sitcom fans," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer, while Paula Rohrlick wrote in Kliatt that "the clever repartee and humor" in Pirates of the Retail Wasteland "will amuse junior high students."

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Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2007, Jennifer Mattson, review of How to Get Suspended and Influence People, p. 83.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 2007, Karen Coats, review of How to Get Suspended and Influence People, p. 385; May, 2008, Karen Coats, review of Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, p. 400.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of How to Get Suspended and Influence People, p. 128; March 15, 2008, review of Pirates of the Retail Wasteland; July 15, 2008, review of I Put a Spell on You.

Kliatt, January, 2007, Paula Rohrlick, review of How to Get Suspended and Influence People, p. 18; March, 2008, Paula Rohrlick, review of Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, p. 19.

Publishers Weekly, February 26, 2007, review of How to Get Suspended and Influence People, p. 91; March, 2007, Pat Scales, review of How to Get Suspended and Influence People, p. 218.

School Library Journal, March, 2007, Pat Scales, review of How to Get Suspended and Influence People, p. 281; July, 2008, Chris Shoemaker, review of Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, p. 107.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2007, Dave Goodale, review of How to Get Suspended and Influence People, p. 56.

ONLINE

Adam Selzer Home Page,http://www.adamselzer.com/ (August 11, 2008).

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