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  • Castration Celebration
  • Written by Jake Wizner
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375853913
  • Our Price: $10.99
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Castration Celebration

Written by Jake WiznerAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jake Wizner


List Price: $10.99


On Sale: May 26, 2009
Pages: 304 | ISBN: 978-0-375-85391-3
Published by : Random House Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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It’s High School Musical—rated R!

When the girl who’s foresworn men meets the boy who’s devoted himself to picking up women, there’s bound to be drama—perfect for a sixweek summer program devoted to the arts. Olivia’s summer goal: to write a musical that censures men with wandering eyes. Max’s summer goal: to hone his acting skills, along with his talent for attracting the ladies. Before camp is over, they’ll perform Olivia’s musical onstage and in real life—though the ending may turn out differently than either expects.

Jake Wizner’s story within a story takes the battle of the sexes to a whole new level in a bawdy, uproarious romp that’s laugh-out-loud fun.

From the Hardcover edition.



Olivia entered her suite to find a Barbie look-alike already there, listening to her iPod and dancing around the common room in impossibly short shorts and a midriff-baring T-shirt. When she spotted Olivia, she smiled hugely and pulled off her headphones. “Oh my God!” she squealed. “I know you. You were right in front of me in line before!”

“Small world,” Olivia said with a smirk.

“I’m Mimi,” Barbie said. “We’re the only ones here so far. You want to share a room with me?” She pointed to the bedroom on the left. “It’s a little bigger, I think.”

Oh God, Olivia thought. She looked toward the bedroom, but did not move.

“Plus it’s got better feng shooey, because the beds are farther from the door.”

Feng shooey? Olivia stifled a laugh. Just for the raw material Mimi would provide, maybe it would be worth it to share. And there really was no graceful way to turn down the offer without hurting Mimi’s feelings. “How can I say no to better feng shooey?” Olivia said, beginning to wheel her suitcase to the left.

Mimi followed her into the room. “How funny is it that we’re roommates and we checked in at exactly the same time? I mean, check-in is all day, so we could have come at any time. It’s like fate, or something, that we ended up roommates, don’t you think?”

Keep a straight face, Olivia told herself, and don’t say anything too sarcastic. She placed her suitcase flat next to her bed and began to unzip it. Maybe if she didn’t respond, Mimi would stop talking.

“I mean what are the chances that we’d be right next to each other at registration? Like a million to one, right?”

“Yeah, it’s a good thing I stopped to get drunk on the way here this morning,” Olivia blurted, “or we would have totally missed each other.”

“Are you serious?” Mimi’s eyes popped wide. “No, you’re kidding.”

“I probably shouldn’t drink when I’m on so many painkillers, but, hey, it’s summer, right?”

Mimi’s expression veered from amusement to serious concern, and Olivia burst out laughing.

“Oh my God!” Mimi squealed. “I totally believed you for a second!”

Olivia shook her head. “Don’t worry, I’m actually a pretty straight arrow. No drinking, no drugs, nothing illegal for me.”

“Well, that’s a relief.” Mimi plopped down on her bed and her voice took on a playful quality. “What about boys?”

“Definitely none of them,” Olivia said decisively.

“Get out!” Mimi shrieked. “Have you seen all the hot guys here?”

Olivia chuckled. Just her luck to get stuck with a nymphomaniac.

In the same dorm, one floor below, Max was unpacking when a tall, skinny guy with long hair walked into the room, wheeling a huge suitcase, wearing a backpack over one shoulder, and carrying a guitar.

“Hey,” Max said.

The guy gave a little nod. “What’s up?”

“I’m Max.”

“Zeke.” He dropped the backpack on the empty bed and leaned his guitar against the wall.

“You here for music?” Max asked.


Zeke opened his book bag, fished out a bottle of water, and took a big swig. Then he brushed his hair out of his face and lifted his suitcase onto the bed.

“You’d think with how much money we’re paying we’d get a bigger room, right?” Max said.

“At least some air-conditioning.”

“I know. This room’s like a fucking sauna.”

“You think any of the rooms have air-conditioning?” Zeke asked.

“If they do, I’m requesting a transfer. No offense.”

Max was actually feeling pretty happy about his roommate situation. For all he knew, he might have ended up with a violin prodigy named Vladimir, who practiced eight hours a day and was several years away from either Carnegie Hall or a complete nervous breakdown. Zeke, on the other hand, seemed like the kind of guy who would be up for almost anything. A young Joey Ramone.

“So,” Max said, pointing to Zeke’s guitar. “What kind of music do you play?”

Zeke brushed his hair back with his hands. “I don’t know. Mostly my own stuff, I guess.”

“You in a band?”

Zeke shook his head. “Used to be.”

“What happened?”

Zeke shrugged. “Lead singer kind of dropped out. Band just fell apart after that.”

Max put on his best TV voice. “They had everything going for them: a hit album, a sold-out concert tour, and a multi-record deal, but behind the scenes, trouble was brewing in paradise. In-fighting and drug abuse were threatening to pull the band apart, and when lead singer . . .” He reverted to his own voice. “What was your lead singer’s name?”

Zeke hesitated. “Devin Baines,” he said.

“And when lead singer Devin Baines overdosed on pain?killers just before a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden, it looked like the band’s days were numbered.”

“You watch too much VH1,” Zeke said, turning away.

“Probably,” Max agreed.

Zeke unzipped his suitcase, took out an iPod dock, and put it on the shelf of his desk. “You can use this,” he said, plugging it in, “but no Celine Dion when I’m in the room.”


Upstairs in Olivia and Mimi’s suite, the two remaining girls—Trish and Callie—had arrived, and the foursome was complete. At the moment, they were sitting two and two on the couches in the common room, and Mimi was gushing over Callie’s short, spiky hair and the multiple studs in each ear.

“It’s like so punk rock, you know. Do boys like that?”

Callie seemed mildly amused. “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never asked them.”

“Do you think I’d look good with short hair?” Mimi pulled her hair up and bunched it against the back of her head.

“With your body, you’d look good bald,” Trish said, folding her arms across her stomach.

“Shut up,” Mimi said delightedly. She jumped up and bounded into the bedroom to look in a mirror. A few seconds passed, and then she called, “What’s everyone wearing to dinner tonight?”

Olivia threw a knowing smile at Trish and Callie. “Pretty spectacular, isn’t she?”

Callie rolled her eyes.

“I wasn’t planning to change,” Trish said, as Mimi walked back into the room.

Olivia feigned shock. “You’re going to wear jeans and an oversize Yale T-shirt? With all the cute boys here?”

From the Hardcover edition.
Jake Wizner

About Jake Wizner

Jake Wizner - Castration Celebration

Photo © Kira Wizner

It was 2003. I had finished a middle-grade novel, The World’s Most Disgusting Sandwich, and was trying to get it published.
“It has potential,” a potential agent told me. “I’d love to see other books you’ve written.”
Other books I’d written? I hadn’t written any other books. I had written an anonymous poetry column for a teachers’ newsletter. I had written a bunch of essays in college and graduate school. I had written some irreverent songs to play on my guitar. “This is my first book,” I confessed.
“Well,” she said, “we don’t typically represent books, we represent writers. Are you working on something else?”
I had started on a sequel and began to tell her about it.
“I mean something different,” she said. “I want to see what else you can do.”
Oh, crap. “I have a few other ideas,” I said.
She told me when I had something written she’d be happy to take a look.
So I came up with a new idea in a hurry and started writing the fictional memoir of Zeke Zagger, the world’s greatest super villain that nobody had ever heard of. It was supposed to be funny; instead it was depraved, disturbing, and utterly distasteful. Reading over the first 20 pages, I began to worry about the state of my subconscious.

So I decided to try again with a new character, and the first thing I wanted to do was give him a name. Shakespeare. Shakespeare Shapiro. Wow, I thought, imagine being that kid. So I did imagine it, and I started to vent on paper. It turned out Shakespeare Shapiro had a lot to say, not just about his name, but also about his crazy parents, his maddeningly popular younger brother, his social ineptitude, and the overall catastrophe of his life. Much of what he said was depraved, disturbing, and utterly distasteful; but it was also really funny to me. And I guess it was funny to other people, too, because Spanking Shakespeare is set to hit the bookstores on September 25, 2007.

As an eighth-grade teacher, it is both incredibly exciting and a little bit nerve wracking to have written a book that I know my students–and probably their parents–will read. I’m excited to become a minor celebrity for the first time in my life, at least within the walls of Manhattan’s Middle School 255. I’m excited that my students will see me as a real live writer, and I will be thrilled if more of them are inspired to carry on independent writing lives. But I wonder how they and their parents will react to the fact that the book deals so openly with the kinds of things teenage boys think about. Just imagine parent-teacher conferences, if you will:

PARENT #1: So, Jake, we read your book.

ME (smiling nervously): Oh, yeah? Well, let me tell you how Becky is doing in class. Her writing is–

PARENT #2 (holding up a copy): Masturbation. Drug use. Pornography. You seem quite well versed in these subjects . . .

You get the idea. So to the question of how much of Spanking Shakespeare is autobiographical, let me just say that nothing has ever been proven. And as to the rumors that I’m now working on a musical called Castration Celebration, I’ll have to plead the fifth.

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