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Authors: Frank Portman

Tags: #Juvenile Nonfiction, #Family, #Action & Adventure, #Juvenile Fiction, #Mysteries & Detective Stories, #General, #Parents

King Dork

BOOK: King Dork
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★ “Original, heartfelt, and sparkling with wit and intelligence.

This novel will linger long in readers’ memories.”

School Library Journal,

★ “A biting and witty high-school satire.”—
Kirkus Reviews,

★ “Tom’s narration is piercingly satirical and acidly witty.”

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books,

“A modern and arguably better (yes, I said it) version of the J. D. Salinger staple.”

American Way

“There is a lot to love about this book:
King Dork
is smart, funny, occasionally raunchy and refreshingly clear about what it’s like to be in high school.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“I love this book as much as I hated high school, and that’s some of the highest praise I can possibly give.”


“This is the funniest, freshest, most original book of any kind that I have read in a very long time. It’s so damn good that I’m just happy there are people like Frank Portman writing books. Period.”

—Megan McCafferty, author of
Sloppy Firsts,

Second Helpings,
Charmed Thirds

“Basically, if you are a human being with even a vague grasp of the English language,
King Dork
will rock your world.”

—John Green, author of
Looking for Alaska,

a Michael L. Printz Honor Book

“Frank Portman . . . proves to be a born storyteller in this hilarious coming-of-age novel.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“Loaded with sharp and offbeat humor.”

USA Today

“The author’s biting humor and skillful connection of events will keep pages turning.”

Publishers Weekly

King Dork
is well and away the best YA book I’ve read this year.

. . . It’s inventive and sexy, it’s fun to read and provides endless food for thought—everything I want from a book.”

—Melvin Burgess, author of
Doing It

“Portman . . . scores with a debut novel that’s funny, sharp, and spot-on at portraying a teen who sees musical stardom as more attainable than scoring with a girl.”

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

King Dork
is unique: a detective-story ode to hormones, teenage bands, and the books they make you read in high school. Hilarious, unflinching, and surprising from start to finish.”

—Ned Vizzini, author of
Be More Chill

“Just the thing for those snarky teens.”


“The ironically self-crowned dork narrator is a terrific guide through the scary world of high school.”

—E! Online

“Channeling the wisdom of a cynical rock sophisticate through the voice of a self-conscious fourteen-year-old misfit, Frank Portman has created a winning post-punk Hardy Boy equal.”

—Ira Robbins,

King Dork
reads like the diary of the funniest kid in school. . . .

Through Tom, Frank Portman brings to life the realities of high school and a dork’s triumph through sheer personality. His book is more like
The Catcher in the Rye
than Tom would ever admit.”

—MySpace Books

King Dork
is a funny, pointed poke in the eye to the bloated
Catcher in the Rye
cult, and also a fine alienated teen novel in its own right.”

—Neal Pollack, author of
Never Mind

the Pollacks: A Rock and Roll Novel


“A funny, intelligent, inspiring, can’t-even-put-it-down-when-I-go-to-the-bathroom story. Seriously, I vowed to only write about this well-publicized book after I read it myself, and I’m happy to report that it’s worth the hype.”

—Whitney Matheson in
USA Today
’s Pop Candy

“This pitch-perfect mixture of
Veronica Mars
Freaks and
exudes realistic, self-aware teen angst on every page, and should be a permanent addition to libraries alongside
Rock, A Separate Peace
. . . and even

The Oregonian

“The magic of
King Dork
lies in its cutting satire and narrative voice. It smartly skewers just about every aspect of the educational system. For readers who have suffered through a pep rally, detention or English class, Portman’s arrival is cause for regal glee.”

The Plain Dealer

“In his book
King Dork,
Frank Portman takes on the high-school coming-of-age story with enough music what-for to satisfy the most ardent of music snobs. He also cuts to pieces
Catcher in the
a job you might not have known needed to be done.”

SF Weekly





My editor, Krista Marino, and everyone at Delacorte Press;
my agent, Steven Malk;

plus Belle, Matil, Chris Appelgren, Paul Caringella, Shauna
Cross, Joanna Hatzopoulos, Marion Henderson, Amanda

Jenkins, Bobby Jordan, Tristin Laughter, Rebekah Leslie,
Beth Lisick, Paige O’Donoghue, Christine Portman,

and Ethan Stoller.

Published by Delacorte Press

an imprint of Random House Children’s Books

a division of Random House, Inc.

New York

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2006 by Frank Portman

Interior illustrations copyright © 2006 by Daniel Chang

All rights reserved.

Delacorte Press and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition of this work as follows: Portman, Frank.

King Dork / Frank Portman.

p. cm.

Summary: High school loser Tom Henderson discovers that “The Catcher in the Rye” may hold the clues to the many mysteries in his life.

[1. Identity—

Fiction. 2. Fathers—Fiction. 3. High schools—Fiction. 4. Schools—Fiction. 5. Mystery and detective stories.] I. Title.

PZ7.P8373Ki 2006



eISBN: 978-0-375-89070-3


And afterwards, in radiant garments dressed

With sound of flutes and laughing of glad lips,

A pomp of all the passions passed along

All the night through; till the white phantom ships

Of dawn sailed in. Whereat I said this song,

“Of all sweet passions Shame is loveliest.”

—Lord Alfred Douglas


It started with a book. If I hadn’t discovered it when and how I did, everything would have turned out differently. But because of it the first semester of sophomore year at Hillmont High School ended up way more interesting and eventful and weird than it was ever supposed to be.

It’s actually kind of a complicated story, involving at least half a dozen mysteries, plus dead people, naked people, fake people, teen sex, weird sex, drugs, ESP, Satanism, books,

blood, Bubblegum, guitars, monks, faith, love, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, a war, a secret code, a head injury, the Crusades, some crimes, mispronunciation skills, a mystery woman, a

devil-head, a blow job, and rock and roll. It pretty much destroyed the world as I had known it up to that point. And I’m not even exaggerating all that much. I swear to God.

I found the book by accident, in a sense. It was in one of the many boxes of books in the basement, in storage in case we ever got more shelves, or perhaps to be sold or given

away at some point. The reason I say by accident “in a sense”

is because the book I found was exactly the book I had been looking for. But I had been looking for just any old copy of it, rather than the specific copy I ended up finding, which I

hadn’t even known existed. And which was something else,

and which ended up opening the craziest can of worms . . .


BOOK: King Dork
3.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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