Teenage Dirtbags

Teenage Dirtbags
Age Range
Release Date
April 09, 2024
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From the author of The Long Run comes another unflinchingly raw and boldly hilarious novel about an unlikely group of teens coming together to exact revenge on the person who wronged them.

All’s fair in love and revenge…

Phil Reyno is a “troublemaker.” With a punk aesthetic and a quick temper, Phil knows that it’s surprising to see him dating universally beloved Cameron Ellis, whose viral coming out video made him an internet darling.

Jackson Pasternak is a “good guy.” Junior class president, star rower, and Ivy bound, Jackson is burnt out and misses the only person who ever truly knew him—his ex-best friend, Phil.

When Cameron dumps Phil and torpedoes his already-iffy reputation in the process, Phil hatches a plot to expose Cameron as the two-faced liar he truly is. And he finds the perfect weapon in his old pal Jackson, who agrees to infiltrate Cameron’s circle and uncover dirt.

But as Phil and Jackson rediscover their friendship—and more—they start to wonder… Will knocking Cameron off his pedestal really solve their problems?

Editor review

1 review
Compelling Read
(Updated: April 21, 2024)
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Teenage Dirtbags is such an eye-catching name and the premise of the book was instantly intriguing. At first, the plot followed the summary of the book so much that I didn’t become invested until it delved more deeply into the characters and how they executed their revenge plot. There were lessons learned, friendships made and mended, and harmful and healing truths revealed along the way.
I love Phil Reyno's character. He has the reputation of a rebel and he’s surrounded by people ready to wash their hands of him. He’s mean and has had a rough upbringing. There is no sympathy from others and no margin of error for him to seek redemption. Except, Jackson Pasternak knows Phil and sees all his reasons and understands.
Jackson’s ability to make himself a dependable, upstanding student and all-around good guy hides a lot of uncertainty. It takes him a while to realize that he has room for error and everyone wants to forgive and forget any foibles he has. How the world treats these two boys is vastly different allowing for great conversations about money, privilege, and compassion.
Phil was forcibly outed on social media as being gay. Yet, everyone finds it immensely charming and side with the one who did it. Jackson can’t put into words the fact that he is not indifferent to boys and loves Phil. Phil handles the matter so supportively and gently that their emerging relationship makes for a compelling read.
Overall, the revenge plot was fun to read. I liked the new friends and relationships made when Phil became public enemy number one when his social media boyfriend, Cameron, dumped him for likes. I love the realness of Jackson and Phil’s struggles with identity and their relationship. The explored themes would make for a great book club pick and elevate the book beyond a story of two teens rediscovering their childhood friendships.
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