Young Adult Novel

Young Adult Novel

"Young Adult Novel" is a novel by Daniel Pinkwater, first published in 1982.

Plot summary

Set at Himmler High school, the story centers around the Wild Dada Ducks, a group of nonconformists and social rejects. The members of the Wild Dada Ducks are Charles the Cat, the Honorable Venustiano Carranza (President of Mexico), The Indiana Zephyr, Captain Colossal, and Igor. The Wild Dada Ducks consider Dada an art movement, and express Dada through such gestures as replacing the school's stolen trophies with a toilet bowl, and distributing hundreds of cards proclaiming that their vice principal (or, the Lord High Executioner, as the Dada Ducks refer to him) does not exist. They also put on a play, called Chickens From Uranus, whose script is 14 lines long, yet was intentionally dragged out so that it took 20 minutes, and was performed in the middle of the cafeteria.

The Dada Ducks also compose stories featuring Kevin Shapiro, Boy Orphan, the imaginary protagonist of a series told in a style parodying a Serious Issues Young Adult Novel. Kevin is typically portrayed as a social outcast, a drug addict, an alcoholic, or a victim of fallout from a nuclear meltdown. The stories usually end with him being killed, only to be brought back in later episodes.

In the main storyline, the Dada Ducks discover that there is actually someone named Kevin Shapiro at their school. They promptly begin worshiping him. They decide to do something wonderful for him, and pass out hundreds of cards saying "Kevin Shapiro is the Greatest Human/Humanoid/Bioelectric Entity/Funky Dude/Disco Dancer of all time." Unbeknownst to the Dada Ducks, they had executed their scheme on the day of the student council elections, and the publicity causes 97% of the school to write in Kevin's name, and he wins every single spot on the council. Kevin reprimands the entire student body, which causes them to love him even more.

Kevin uses his newfound power to create an army of the shortest kids in the school wearing sailor hats, and takes revenge on the Dada Ducks by having the entire lunchroom pour soggy Grape Nuts all over them.


A 1985 book "Young Adults" contains the original story, along with some sequels featuring the same characters, including "Dead End Dada", the fragment "The Dada Boys in Collitch", and reader-contributed Kevin Shapiro stories. The story has also appeared in later Pinkwater collections, including "5 Novels".

Daniel Pinkwater's website has an area where readers can share [ additional Kevin Shapiro stories] .

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