Fiction, January 2020

Crying Laughing by Lance Rubin

Crying Laughing by Lance Rubin. November 19, 2019. Alfred A. Knopf, 325 p. ISBN: 9780525644682.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 740.

A tragicomic story of bad dates, bad news, bad performances, and one girl’s determination to find the funny in high school from the author of Denton Little’s Deathdate.

Winnie Friedman has been waiting for the world to catch on to what she already knows: she’s hilarious.

It might be a long wait, though. After bombing a stand-up set at her own bat mitzvah, Winnie has kept her jokes to herself. Well, to herself and her dad, a former comedian and her inspiration.

Then, on the second day of tenth grade, the funniest guy in school actually laughs at a comment she makes in the lunch line and asks her to join the improv troupe. Maybe he’s even . . . flirting?

Just when Winnie’s ready to say yes to comedy again, her father reveals that he’s been diagnosed with ALS. That is . . . not funny. Her dad’s still making jokes, though, which feels like a good thing. And Winnie’s prepared to be his straight man if that’s what he wants. But is it what he needs?

Caught up in a spiral of epically bad dates, bad news, and bad performances, Winnie’s struggling to see the humor in it all. But finding a way to laugh is exactly what will see her through.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild sexual themes, Racial insensitivity, Strong language, Discussion of adultery



Booklist (October 15, 2019 (Vol. 116, No. 4))
Grades 7-10. Winnie is funny, but she’s also in high school, where not everyone appreciates true comic genius. Having grown up learning comedy from her dad, Winnie knows she’s funny, and that’s enough—until classmate Evan actually laughs at her jokes and suggests she join the school improv troupe, that is. However, when her attempt at sharing with her parents that she’s considering joining a performance group is interrupted by the news that her father might have ALS, Winnie’s world starts to crumble. Firmly set in 2019, Rubin’s latest (Denton Little duology) is a review of comedy culture sprinkled throughout a hilarious and heart-wrenching tale. With a refreshingly diverse cast of characters, Rubin weaves together high-school drama, improv failures, bad dates, and friendship fights with a family fighting to stay together when its foundation is suddenly shaken. This book is for anyone who’s ever attended high school, had a crush, gotten news they weren’t prepared to deal with, or learned that someone close to them isn’t quite who they thought they were—in short, for everyone.

Kirkus Reviews (September 15, 2019)
Winnie Friedman is navigating her sophomore year of high school, evolving friendships, and family worries. After a stand-up comedy fail at her bat mitzvah, 15-year-old Winnie swore off public performances. However, when she is asked by Evan Miller, a popular junior, to join the school’s Improv Troupe, she decides to take the risk. Her best friends, Muslim, hijabi identical twins Leili and Asmaa, are very supportive. However, just when Winnie believes she really will do comedy again, she finds out her father may have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A girlfriend for Asmaa and friendship troubles with Leili add to the changes and turmoil. Winnie just wants to make people laugh and find humor in the world around her—but can she, with her father’s health problems, complications with Evan, and the falling out with Leili? Rubin’s (Denton Little’s Still Not Dead, 2017, etc.) writing realistically brings to life teens struggling to find their paths and be happy, lending the story a feeling of authenticity. Small, telling details of the girls’ interactions in their interfaith friendship and pop-culture references add to this reality. This is a touching look into one girl’s high school experience as she seeks the funny moments even in the midst of tragedy and challenging relationships. Winnie is white and Jewish, Leili and Asmaa are Iranian American, and there is diversity in secondary characters. Charming and affecting. (Fiction. 13-18)

About the Author

Lance Rubin is the author of Denton Little’s Deathdate and Denton Little’s Still Not Dead. He’s worked as an actor, written and performed sketch comedy (like The Lance and Ray Show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre), and done a lot of improv. He’s also the co-writer, along with Joe Iconis and Jason SweetTooth Williams, of the musical Broadway Bounty Hunter. Lance lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two sons.

Her website is

Around the Web

Crying Laughing on Amazon

Crying Laughing on Barnes and Noble

Crying Laughing on Goodreads

Crying Laughing on LibraryThing

Crying Laughing Publisher Page

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