Larry Doyle is a writer for the Simpsons and has a long and checkered past working in TV and film. I Love You, Beth Cooper is his first novel.

I Love You, Beth Cooper is a classic tale about that momentous life moment, High School Graduation. The last night before we head into the unknown future, leaving our high school selves behind forever. It is one very long day in the life of Dennis Cooverman, nerd and class valedictorian. Dennis decides to confess his love to Beth Cooverman, head cheerleader and most popular girl during his valedictorian speech. The rest of the book is about how his night unfolds after that speech. I Love You covers every graduation night cliche, underage drinking, awkward teenage sex, the convergence of teenage cliques for one night only, it’s like every John Hughes movie rolled into one and it acknowledges it in a wink to the readers. It’s this wink that is the problem with the book. It’s a mostly fun read, and well written but like most drunken teenage nights of mayhem it goes on too long. I was exhausted by Dennis’ evening about 75 pages before he was. Each chapter begins with a cartoon picture of Dennis who gets progressively more beat up as the night goes on, and a quote from a character from a teen movie. I found this to be very distracting. Every chapter I was reminded me that this was a send up of every graduation comedy that came before it, I just wanted to get into the story and enjoy it for its excesses, not be reminded that this was a story that had been told many times before.

Ultimately this book says nothing new about the graduation story, and isn’t quite over the top enough in exploiting it’s cliches, to be the ridiculous parody it’s trying to be.

I give this book three worms out of five.

Next up on the nightstand: The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson.