"The luckiest kid in the world gets a shot at appearing in an Orson Welles play—and falls in love, to boot. It's a pity that Kaplow appears to be aiming for the grown-up market in this adult outing, because as a YA author, he has created one of the best depictions of male adolescent yearning ever to hit the page—though one that few adolescents are likely to read. It's 1937, and Richard Samuels is a 17-year-old Jewish kid living in Dullsville, New Jersey. Bright but not too nerdy, with a pretty but somewhat cool-to-the-touch girlfriend, Richard is swimming along the high-school current without a lot of effort. Desperate for more, he prowls the libraries and museums of Manhattan, dreaming of poetry, art, and the theater, until one Saturday he spies "a little action down beyond Bryant Park" and goes to see what the fuss is about. It turns out to be the Mercury Theatre troupe mounting their theater's sign and putting the final touches on their inaugural play: Orson Welles's' modern-dress Julius Caesar, opening the following Thursday. A stroke of luck makes Richard catch the eye of Welles himself, and within minutes Richard has been given a small role in the play, which he has mere hours to learn. Within a couple of days, Richard is in the thick of the final stages of one of the century's most exciting theatricals and has fallen desperately in love with a woman who has also caught Welles's eye. It's all paced at break-neck speed, with Kaplow whipping everyone who's in the orbit of Welles—that cold-blooded, hot-tempered, and phenomenally gifted wunderkind only five years older than Richard—into a manic fury of creative euphoria and despair. By the time opening night comes around, it's as though a year has passed, yet this is a tale that reads like the wind. Joyful and alive, crackling with wonder."
—Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)
"The funniest American YA novel and one of the finest parodies of Poe's style is Robert Kaplow's Alex Icicle: A Romance in Ten Torrid Chapters... Still the funniest adolescent novel around a spoof of books and styles, all without a moment's condescension."
—Literature for Today's Young Adults
"Deftly imitating the self-conscious vulgarities that callow youth affect to prove their worldliness, Kaplow has written a ribald comedy. The story also evokes a 14-year-old's unrequited love, no laughing matter."
"This offbeat book is just plain fun. And behind the silliness—the verbal hijinks and self-mockery—is a true depiction of adolescent infatuation: 'Sometimes, sometimes, enchanted reader, the lonely frog-prince can win the hand of the princess. It does happen; I know it does. It must.'"
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"Diarrhea on the Orient Express describes the unfortunate experience of Sue Grafton as she celebrates another series of books, starting with AA is for Aardvark. Even more unfortunate for Grafton is her chance meeting with ramblin' guy Steve Martin. After dispatching Grafton, Kaplow, author of the Top Ten BookSense selection Me and Orson Welles, aims his satiric pen at best-selling writers Danielle Steel, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Tom Clancy. It is up to Stephen King to solve the murder mystery as he risks becoming the next victim. Along the way, Kaplow fires volleys at the likes of President George W. Bush, former shock jock Don Imus, and Deepa, a Verizon customer-service rep who prefers to be called Scarlett. In an unforgettable finale on Swan's Island off the coast of Maine, King encounters former Enron executive Ken Lay, a terrifying lizard, and Anne Bancroft, who reprises her role as Annie in The Miracle Worker. Funny. Irreverent. Fast-paced. Parody at its best. Kaplow's clever spoof will please everyone but its victims."
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"In this wildly funny, biting satire, in which James Qafka, noted children's book author and his cats Ying-Tong and Poon-Tang investigate the ghastly murder of Lilian Jackson Braun, Kaplow's shotgun approach shatters his main targets and does a lot of collateral damage as well. Like Mad magazine humor, the zingers come quickly, lancing Britney Spears on one page, delivering a glancing blow to "Murder, She Wrote" on the next and giving a resounding slap to Oprah Winfrey a couple of pages after that. The copious puns range from the simple to the elaborate, and include a perfect gem complete in a one-page chapter. As is true with the author and sleuth the book parodies, readers are more likely to be along for the joy of the journey than for the nominal mystery. But where the real Lilian Jackson Braun chronicles a whitebread world of gentility and graciousness, Kaplow's fevered imagination brings forth a torrent of insults, invective, and invention. Who else would create a confluence of Mary Astor, Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle and Jackie Gleason, while at the same time playing particular tribute to The Maltese Falcon? LJB purists may not be amused, and the same might be said of staunch Philip Roth fans, for Roth plays a unique role in Kaplow's opus. The rest of the reading public may read and roar."
"Outrageous, outlandish, and laugh-out-loud funny."
—The Globe and Mail
"Kaplow has teenage-girl angst down pat. The characters are quirky, funny, and eminently themselves. The story rings with true—and rings with laughter."
—ALA Booklist, (starred review)
"Alessandra in Love is a pleasant, fast-paced story about first love and all of the attendant elations, insecurities, and ultimate disillusions."
—Delaware County District Library
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