Play Me Backwards (Hardcover)

Play Me Backwards By Adam Selzer Cover Image
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A committed slacker enlists the help of his best friend (who may or may not be the devil) to get his act together in this novel filled with humor, awkwardness, and honesty, ideal for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Leon Harris isn’t exceptional and he isn’t popular. He’s the kind of guy that peaked in middle school, when once upon a time he was in the “gifted” program and on the fast track to Ivy League glory.

Now, a high school senior, he’s a complete slacker who spends his time hanging out in a third-rate ice cream parlor with his best friend, Stan, a guy who (jokingly, Leon thinks) claims to be Satan. Committed to his sloth, Leon panics when he finds out that Anna, the love of his life aka middle school girlfriend, might be moving back to town.

Determined to get his act together, Leon asks Stan for help. Stan gives him a few seemingly random and mysterious assignments. Date a popular girl. Listen to Moby-Dick, the audiobook. Find the elusive white grape slushee. Join the yearbook committee.

As each task brings Leon one step away from slacker city and one step closer to Anna, he starts to wonder if maybe he shouldn’t have promised Stan his soul after all…

About the Author

Adam Selzer lived in Des Moines back before it was cool, then tried out a series of small Georgia towns that will probably never be cool before settling in Chicago. In addition to several books on Chicago history and ghostlore, he’s the author of several young adult and middle grade novels, including Play Me Backwards, How To Get Suspended and Influence People (which is part of the ALA’s Banned Books Week packet), I Kissed a Zombie and I liked It, and Sparks (under the name SJ Adams, a Stonewall Honor book for 2013). He has seen Bob Dylan in concert more than forty times, holds a world record for “Most Richard Nixon jokes in a Children’s Book,” and often performs music, both solo and with various bands, at science fiction conventions. Visit him online at

Praise For…

"It’s a mordantly funny story of a teenager bumbling headlong into love and sex while caught in high-school limbo, waiting for life to kick into gear."
— Publishers Weekly

"An engaging, character-driven piece."
— Kirkus Reviews

"Leon is a likable narrator full of real-world worries and flaws...."
— School Librarly Journal

"Timelessly true to life. Leon's misadventures and accidental discoveries will keep readers flipping pages to see each successive struggle he will face. A diabolically funny, slacker-makes-good coming-of-age story in the tradition of Rob Thomas's Rats Saw God(1996)."
— Booklist

* "This coming-of-age story is hilariously subversive but also tender and poignant as Leon learns to have faith in himself again. The humor is, by turns, tasteless, clever, and cringe-worthy. This will be just the right book for those senior high students who love Seth McFarlane.... It is not a book for everyone, but those who can appreciate it are rewarded with a fun and satisfying experience."
— VOYA Reviews, STARRED review

Product Details
ISBN: 9781481401029
ISBN-10: 1481401025
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 26th, 2014
Pages: 288
Language: English