I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it here, but I didn't read a lot of YA fiction when I was its target demographic. Partially this is because there wasn't quite as much range of good YA available to me in the early to mid 1990s; partially I was attempting to be a Sophisticated Reader who was done with all that Youthful Nonsense; partially it was because I am younger than my sister (my only sibling) by three years, and often the books she read would sound interesting to me, or would come my way by being left around the house, and I'd read them.
Of the few YA books I read as a young adult, I remember even fewer, but one of them is Stephen Maines' The Obnoxious Jerks. It's the book where I first learned what a gyro is (ain't nothing but a sandwich, of course). I remember a bit when the club of Obnoxious Jerks try to spell it out, but somehow the "R" is missing; thus they are, when assembled, the Obnoxious Jeks.
It was obviously not emotionally affecting or life-changing (other than the gyro thing; language/knowledge acquisition is always good). But still, I have fondly remembered it for many many years.
So how happy was I when, at a local library book sale, I saw this masterwork lined up with a bunch of other forgettable 80s teen fiction?
So happy that I actually squeaked out loud. Possibly I even squealed. I certainly exclaimed loudly enough to draw the attention of the moms and book scouts scanning the children's/YA section of the booksale. Their attention may have been drawn by me hopping up and down in ecstatic delight. It's hard to know. Regardless, I snapped that sucker right up and its purchase was probably the best 50 cents I spent that day.
I don't know if I'll re-read it; I'm a bit worried that I'll be mortified at its awfulness, and wonder why I've spent the last 20 years recalling this book at odd moments.
What if I love it? What if it suddenly becomes emotionally affecting and life-changing? Will I have to confess that my Favorite Book is called The Obnoxious Jerks and was published in 1987?
None of these scenarios seem likely. Rereading will almost certainly result in some slight disappointment, but for now, the serendipity of finding this book, and the happiness I feel now at owning it, far outweight my trepidation about what's actually between its covers.