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Playing it Cool by Joaquin Dorfman

Playing it Cool

by Joaquin Dorfman

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"Cool's" protagonist, Sebastian, has the skills of a man twice his age (his competence at 18 years old reminds me of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's tough-talking Brendan in the movie "Brick.") He calls in favors and performs them for others, and never asks anything for himself. When Sebastian trades identities with his friend Jeremy, to souse out the character of Jeremy's biological father, he finds himself in over his head. Despite the Shakespearean elements (mistaken identities! Relatives in disguise!) the plotline of this book feels more "real" than others aimed at young adults. Nothing is tied up in a neat little bow, and our hero's slick exterior corrodes as his artifices pile up. Sebastian's Robin Hood ethos is somewhat hard to believe, but it's a tempting thing to believe in. Grades 10 and up. No sexual content or language.
  Sarahfine | Jun 22, 2011 |
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com

Sebastian Montero has a reputation around town as a problem solver. Any problem you've got, Sebastian has a way to fix it. He doesn't do it just out of the goodness of his heart, though; it's all part of the complicated network of favors, debts, and problems that he's organized. He's calm and in control in the middle of his domain. He knows how it all works.

Along comes another problem. This one directly involves Sebastian's friend, Jeremy. Jeremy has just found out that the man he thought was his father, well, isn't. Sebastian has found Jeremy's real father, and the two of them set off for the coast of North Carolina to meet Dromio. Seems straightforward enough, right?

Well, then throw this into the mix: Bastian and Jeremy are switching identities, so that Jeremy won't get hurt if Dromio turns out to be a shady character or just a jerk. When Dromio accepts him right into the family, Bastian keeps pushing the charade further and futher--but to what end?

PLAYING IT COOL is a very interesting novel. Most of the characters are realistic, and the plot is certainly well-thought out. The scenario itself is a little odd, but suspension of disbelief is common enough in fiction. The writing is pretty excellent, too, but it lacks a certain spark throughout a good chunk of the book. At the beginning, and then again at the end, it seems good, but lacks whatever it is that makes a book special. Still, though, this is a book worth reading! ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
I could not go through this book, gave it up. Almost took it out of my library because of it but I think I'll leave it here with this comment and no stars. ( )
  Mtnpersei | May 30, 2007 |
Sebastian has a reputation among his peers for fixing things. Have a problem, call Sebastian. That's why he's the obvious choice to help his best friend Jeremy track down his long-lost father, but a set of confusing circumstances threatens their search and their friendship. The story was ok, but I really enjoyed the author's style. ( )
  jbarth | Nov 9, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375836411, Hardcover)

“I always know what I’m doing.”
So says 18-year-old Sebastian Montero, who is famous around town as a problem solver of the subtlest kind. Want a date with the girl of your dreams? Bastian can make it happen. Have a friend threatening suicide? Baz can talk him off the ledge. But as popular as Sebastian is, no one really knows him. Thanks to his intricate network of favors and debts Sebastian controls the world, manipulates it—and hides from it. It isn’t until his best friend asks him to track down his long-missing father that Sebastian is forced to face the most challenging problem of all, the solution to which will change his life forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

While tracking down the long-lost father of his best friend Jeremy, popular eighteen-year-old Sebastian calls on a network of favors and debts and begins to question his way of life.

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