Author: Phil Bildner
Location: YA Bildner
Reading Level: Young Adult
Busted started out with a lot of promise. It consists of four intertwining short stories about high school students getting into trouble for various things. Drinking, sex and bullying are just a few of the things these teens get busted for. The writing was frank and did not sugarcoat the lives of today's teens, but Bildner relies on stereotypical characters (the cheerleader, the jock, etc.) all too often. What bothered me most is the way Bildner's characters spoke. It was very obvious that he was trying too hard to sound like a teen and it comes off as forced and artificial. Several of the characters' conversations made me cringe - no one ever talks like this!
Bottom Line: Busted is a great escape and the material is refreshingly honest and relevant. The dialogue and oversimplification of characters make it hard to fully identify and emphathize with the story. This made what would be a very fun novel a mediocre one.