Several years since the publication of King Dork have passed, but the new sequel King Dork Approximately by Frank Portman picks up right where we left Tom Henderson and his friends. That is to say, hating high school, trying to pick up girls, and concocting an ever-revolving list of band names and logos. (If you missed it, check out our interview with Frank HERE!)
From Frank Portman comes the long-awaited sequel to the beloved cult classic King Dork, of which John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, said, “Basically, if you are a human being with even a vague grasp of the English language, King Dork will rock your world.”
Aside from the stitches and the head wound, Tom Henderson is the same old King Dork. He’s still trying to work out who to blame for the new scar on his forehead, the memory loss, and his father’s mysterious death. But illicit female hospital visitations, The Catcher in the Rye, and the Hillmont High sex-pocalypse have made him a new man.
What doesn’t make you stronger can kill you, though, and tenth grade, act two, promises to be a killer. Tom’s down one bloodstained army coat, one Little Big Tom, and two secret semi-imaginary girlfriends. Now his most deeply held beliefs about alphabetical-order friendship, recycling, school spirit, girls, rock and roll, the stitching on jeans, the Catcher Code, and the structure of the universe are about to explode in his face. If only a female robot’s notes could solve the world’s problems, he’d have a chance. But how likely is that?
King Dork Approximately–it feels like the first time. Like the very first time.
As much as I loved King Dork, I feel like King Dork Approximately was a much more satisfying read. The most obvious difference is, perhaps, that this is Portman’s third novel — whereas King Dork was his first. But whatever the reason may be, Tom’s latest adventures are perhaps his funniest and most rewarding to read about.
Portman writes about Tom’s heinous high school experiences with his usual signature sarcastic wit. It’s amusing to think that Tom (and Portman, too) are not big fans of The Catcher in the Rye, when he has so much in common with Holden Caulfield. Tom may not run around calling everyone a “phony” in so many words, but he shares much of Holden’s disenchantment with the world and a similar style of criticism of everyone he meets.
Fans of the original King Dork will not want to miss what happens next for Tom Henderson – but new readers will delight in discovering Tom’s world for the first time. (Though I highly recommend you start with King Dork and read the two books back-to-back!)
King Dork Approximately is in stores December 9th.