April can be a rough time of year at the library for librarians and teens alike. Here at my library, we’re bogged down in Summer Reading Program prep, and the teens are all grumpy from doing standardized testing in school. And despite it technically being spring, our girl Mother Nature often throws us at least one snowstorm as a little April Fool’s joke. T.S. Elliott did famously say that “April is the cruellest month.” These days, my brain can’t handle nonfiction or any super-serious topics. And don’t even get me started on the news. During these rainy days, my brain craves levity–a good fart joke here, some sassy dialogue there, maybe some embarrassing situations, and a few double entendres. I want, wit, whimsy, and straight up weirdness. I want snarkiness, satire, and shenanigans. I want something to make me laugh out loud, gosh darn it! Here are some of my favorite recent funny books to help get the laughter train rolling.
The Haters – Jesse Andrews
Wes and Corey are haters. They are obsessed with music and even more obsessed with determining why most music they encounter sucks. At jazz camp, they meet fellow hater, Ash, an intriguing guitar-player and one of the few girls at camp. They form a band and then proceed to make a series of dumb decisions as they ditch camp in search of the perfect gig. This book will have you laughing out loud right off the bat. The banter among the characters is full of swearing, hilarious over-the-top jokes about male anatomy, and musical one-upmanship. If you’re into raunchy bromance comedies, this book is for you.
Dan vs Nature – Don Calame
Dan’s mom, who has a history of dating losers, drops a bombshell: She and current boyfriend Hank are engaged! And she’s booked a trip for Dan and Hank to an outdoor survival camp so they can bond. Dan and his best friend Charlie decide to use the trip as an opportunity to scare Hank off by planning a series of horrific pranks. This farce is chock full of gross humor and is perfect for tweens. Think Home Alone but in the wilderness, with a lot more diarrhea and bear attacks.
My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
This silly, alternate history reimagines Lady Jane Grey’s nine day reign as Queen of England as a madcap, shape-shifter romance. The feud between the Protestants and Catholics is presented here as a feud between Edians (humans that can become animals, much like the animagi in Harry Potter) and the Verities that hate them. So that she can succeed King Edward, Jane is wed to Gifford Dudley who, for better or for worse, spends every evening as a horse. This playful story is full of fun pop culture references (from Princess Bride to Monty Python to Game of Thrones) and a lot of fourth-wall breaking by the authors. It’s safe to say that this is a story unlike anything you’ve ever encountered.
Kill the Boy Band – Goldy Moldavsky
The Ruperts are the hottest boy band on the scene. Four superfans, Isabel, Apple, Erin, and a mysterious unnamed narrator, check into the Ruperts’ hotel in hopes of meeting the guys in person–and they’ll do whatever it takes. When Apple literally runs into Rupert P. (the ugly one) at the ice machine, she knocks him out and kind of….kidnaps him. Hilarity and hijinks ensue.This satirical black comedy is an over the top send-up of fame and fan culture.
Drag Teen – Jeffery Self
JT is determined to get the heck out of Clearwater, FL and go to college, but he needs to find a way to pay for it. He’s always dreamed of being a drag queen, so when his boyfriend Seth and best friend Heather convince him to enter a drag competition for teens in New York, he reluctantly agrees, hoping to win the scholarship promised to the first place queen. This funny, fluffy story is part road trip novel, part fairy godmother fantasy. Though it’s a bit cliched and didactic, it’s a perfect light, smile-inducing read.
Spontaneous – Aaron Starmer
High school senior Mara Carlyle is just chilling in her pre-calc class one day when—KABLAM!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden spontaneously combusts. Soon, seniors are exploding left and right. Don’t even get me started on the horrific scene at the homecoming game…yikes. The town is reeling, and everyone is on the hunt for someone to blame. Is it drugs? Homosexuality? A government conspiracy? Or is Mara herself somehow causing it? I know this sounds like a tragedy, but Mara’s snarky, tell-it-like-it-is voice and the ridiculousness of the situation make this a (literal) gut-buster.
Jessica Hilbun Schwartz is a Teen Services Librarian in Louisville, CO. She's a native Coloradoan, but because she received both an MLS in Library Science and an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College in Boston, MA she'll always have a soft spot for Bostonians and their glorious accents. Jessica is actively involved with ALA and YALSA and is currently serving on the 2018 Best Fiction for Young Adult selection committee. When she's not at the library, Jessica can usually be found reading picture books aloud to her very patient husband, baking shortbread, trying to learn French, or cuddling under a blanket with a good book.