The Gospel According to Larry

Janet Tashjian

Square Fish

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After creating a controversial and hugely popular website, teenager Josh Swensen becomes trapped inside his brilliant creation and must find a way to remain anonymous.

I am lying on my bed doing my homework in Greek and Latin roots for Advanced English. ‘Ped’ for foot, ‘homo’ for man, ‘nym’ for name. I sit with the dictionary in front of me, coming up with as many words as I can to complete the assignment. Pedestrian, homicide, pseudonym . . . I have more than thirty of them. By accident—that’s always how these life-changing things happen—I connect two halves that don’t seem like a word until I look it up. ‘Pseudo,’ false; and ‘cide,’ to kill = pseudocide. To pretend to kill (yourself).

I stare at the word for a good long time. Homicide, suicide, genocide: these are words you can find in the newspaper every day. But pseudocide . . . now here was something different. My mind wanders from my homework to the blue cotton threads of my bedspread. Pseudocide. A way to start again as someone completely new, a way to burn the old self and try on a new one.

Josh Swensen isn’t your average teenager—when he observes America, he sees a powerhouse of consumerism and waste. He’s even tried to do something about it, with his controversial start-up website. But when Josh rises to messiah status of the internet world, he discovers that greed and superficiality are not easily escaped. Trapped inside his own creation, Josh feels his only way out is to stage his death and be free of his internet alter-ego, “Larry.” But this plan comes with danger, and soon Josh finds himself cut off from the world, with no one to turn to for help. In this suspenseful young adult novel, The Gospel According to Larry, Janet Tashjian has written a probing tour-de-force.

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The Gospel According to Larry
The Gospel According to Larry-- in my own words by Josh Swensen"I haven't enjoyed a rant this much since Thoreau,"1 Beth said. "We need people stirring up the way we think about things."My best friend, Beth, was trying to talk me into forming a Larry study group with her. His Web hundreds of hits a day, mostly from teens and college students. No one knew Larry's identity, and that conjecture alone was the source of several companion Web sites. Many kids at school were fans, but Beth was rabid.

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Praise for The Gospel According to Larry

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A Booklist Editor’s Choice
Book Sense Children’s 76 Winter 2002 Preview title
A Teen People “Now! Reads” title

* “[A] thrilling read, fast-paced with much fast food for thought about our consumer-oriented pop culture. . . .Teenagers will eat this one up.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* “Tashjian’s gift for portraying bright adolescents with insight and humor reaches near perfection here.” —School Library Journal, starred review

* “Tashjian fabricates a cleverly constructed scenario and expertly carries it out to the bittersweet end.” —The Horn Book, starred review

* “Very fresh.” —Booklist, starred review

“[A] clever wake-up call to the perils of consumerism for the sensitive and passionate teenage generation.” —Christian Science Monitor

“An innovative, fast-paced, arresting novel in a teen’s voice that you won’t forget.” —Contra Costa Times

“I’ll predict that 99 percent of the teen-agers who read The Gospel According to Larry will love it.” —Long Beach Press Telegram

“A surprising and absorbing book.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Tashjian skillfully uses humor and provides one of the most honest voices in young adult literature since Steve York and Rob Thomas’s.” —VOYA

“Humorous. . . .The author gets all the notes just right—the wired adolescent passions, the destructive effects of the media spotlight, and the technology.” —Times Picayune

“Tashjian is sure to increase in popularity with the adolescent set.” —Book Report

“This is a great, well-written read.” —Colorado Independent

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Janet Tashjian

Janet Tashjian is the author of many popular novels including My Life as a Book, My Life as a Stuntboy, My Life as a Cartoonist, Larry and the Meaning of Life, Vote for Larry, The Gospel According to Larry, Fault Line, Multiple Choice, and Tru Confessions. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

Janet Tashjian


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Available Formats and Book Details

The Gospel According to Larry
Janet Tashjian


American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Square Fish
July 2014
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250044389
ISBN10: 1250044383
Young Adult Fiction
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 256 pages
Age Range: 12 to 18
Grade Range: 7 and up

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Henry Holt and Co.
April 2011
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429956673
ISBN10: 1429956674
Young Adult Fiction240 pages
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Range: 7 and up

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Square Fish

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