The Goddess of YA Literature: "The entire cast of characters of this novel is memorable. There are precious few books that show gifted kids for what they can be: miscreants intent on bending all the rules as far as they can before they break....Selzer captures them with all their spirit, their quick thinking, their sense of humor, and their ability to find logic when there is none apparent."
Mrs. Hill's Book Blog:"Adam Selzer is hilarious!"
Ms. Yingling Reads: "Leon has the best parents in teen literature."
Bookslut:"This is a very unusual group of kids..."
From Book Sense (for which the book was a Summer 2008 pick):
PIRATES OF THE RETAIL WASTELAND, by Adam Selzer (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $15.99, 9780385734820 / 0385734824) "Pirates of the Retail Wasteland follows the exploits of a group of cynical, disaffected, and talented high school students who rouse themselves from their torpor to try and save the last non-chain business on their town's strip -- a grungy, congenial coffee shop called Sip. Selzer's character are dead-on, and his readers will thoroughly enjoy this one." --Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME(full review)
When, at age thirteen, you create an avant-garde sexâ€“ed video that puts your entire school in a an uproar (How to Get Suspended and Influence People), it might be hard for the average person to figure out how to make their fourteenth year just as memorable. Of course, Leon Noside Harris is not your average person, and thatâ€™s kind of the point. For his next act, Leon, part of a group of gifted students, decides to enlist the help of his friends in staging and filming a takeover of a coffee house, part of a behemoth chain, which is threatening to push his favorite little neighborhood shop out of business. When he is not busy filming, Leon spends his time attempting to evade his outwardly quiet classmate, Jenny, who is crushing on him big time, and his accountant father, whoâ€™s matching his sonâ€™ s offbeat outlook by sporting a green Mohawk. This breezy, comic tale is as invigorating and as smoothly satisfying as a good caffe latte.
Leon and his friends want to strike a blow against corporate America and
protest the destruction of his local downtown, but how? After agonized thought (some about the project, most
about girls), Leon decides that he and his buddies should act like pirates and take over the
soulless coffee franchise, Wackfords. The takeover will be filmed and used to highlight the difference
between ugly strip development and the quirky downtown with its arty coffee shop, Sip. Wildly
eccentric characters (some almost caricatures) people the pages, including Leon's accountant father, who
sports a green mohawk, and a punky ballroom-dancing barista. Comic situations are recounted by flippant,
hypersmart Leon, who often sounds older than his 14 years. Give this to fans of Bucking the Sarge by
Christopher Paul Curtis (2004) who enjoy seeing smart, rule-breaking kids take on the adult world.
- Suzanne Harold