This book was such a mind bend. I don’t even know how to describe it or where to begin…..
The main cast:
– High school student
– Murderer…for a good cause
– Recently returned from an unjust imprisonment in a homosexual conversion camp (which is a whole other issue but, I digress)
Our setting is the town of Fleet. Todd Sweeney has just returned from “boot camp”, a very tongue-in-cheek way of saying “conversion camp”. You see, Todd has had interest in members of the same sex, and in his ultra-conservative hometown, anything other than a man, wife, 2.5 kids, a dog, and the white picket fence is dangerous and frowned upon. A friend of Todd’s named Toby is about to face the same fate as Todd and Toby’s own boyfriend by being sent to conversion camp. But no, Todd has seen too much and he resolves to protect Toby.
The first opponent to Toby & Antonio reuniting is the new guidance counselor of the high school, Squeers (his name is a joke in and of itself). Not only is Squeers after “all the gays”, Mrs. Sweeney (Todd’s mom) reveals that while he was away conversion camp, Squeers may or may not (probably may) have tried to come on to her after being denied, forced himself on her. Obviously this sets Todd off; but Squeers is soon dealt with. Then comes the school bully. He tries to get Nellie to go on a date with him with the promise of rocking her world via intercourse — consensual or otherwise. Nellie doesn’t like the bully, but agrees to play the bait so as to lure him to his death at the hands of Todd. If you’ve ever seen the Time Burton directed version of Sweeney Todd, or any of the play versions, you’ll know that when people get killed, they end up baked into various food stuffs, traditionally meat pies. So naturally, Nellie Lovett’s empañada stand gains popularity and sales.
Eventually our two young protags and Toby go on a trip to rescue Antonio, and they may or may not be indirectly involved in yet another killing before fleeing the scene and heading west to evade the authorities.
Eventually, with the help of blackmail and various nefarious means, Toby and Antonio are okay. Nellie & Todd are on the lam…in the UK? Where there was mysterious one day only pop-up meat pie shop?
Overall, this was quite a read. I am a big huge mega fan of Johnny Depp’s interretation of Sweeney Todd, so naturally I *had* to have this one and I was graciously gifted this by one of my amazing bookstagram friends! I enjoyed this look at Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett as being felonious teenagers in high school. The writing style was a bit odd, stilted, and sometimes hard to follow but it works here. In general, this was a fun read, I think it took me a whole 4 days to finish it.
TW: blood, death, sexual content, kidnap, cruising Grindr for love, and sex on top of, in front of, and in the presence of corpses. Its a little weird.