Book Review: Dodgeball High by Bradley Sands

dodgeballhigh-e1414177193765Despite the plot of Bradley Sand’s Dodgeball High being pretty straightforward, I still find myself having a difficult time describing it. The best I can come up with is that it’s like a high school sports movie parody as conceived by the writers at Adult Swim.

Justin Lucas has just transferred to Lungville High. He fully expects to be the most popular kid in the school as he was at his old one (or at least that’s what he thinks). What he doesn’t expect, is that every class is dedicated to learning about dodgeball. Despite his (delusions of) superior athleticism, he finds himself to be the worst dodgeball player in the school. He’s determined to prove himself and win the dodgeball championship, the respect of the other students and the affection of the hot goth chick Dodie Manson.

Sands hits all the major points in a sports movie, including the training montage. In fact the chapter is called “Awesome Training Montage” which even has the inspirational song (which plays only in Justin’s head) .

Push yourself to the limit. Just kidding, wimp. Champions don’t have limits.

As straightforward as this premise sounds, Bradley has a way of writing that makes everything about it just plain damn weird and hilarious. The completely over the top descriptions of the dodgeball games are probably the star of the show here.

Then a ball hits Vaseline Girl in the throat. Blood spurts all over the place. She falls, clutching her wound.

I look down at the ball. Part of it is covered in razor blades. It’s like they’ve been glued on or something.

I’m not even going to get into the complete head trip that is the championship game in the climax.

Everything I’ve read of Bradley Sands’ work has been laugh out loud funny. This book is no exception. Justin’s smart ass remarks and the wacky situations he finds himself in are like a cartoon in prose form. I mean that in the best way possible. I think the funniest moment for me was when Justin walks in on his parents having sex.

“Wait! Were you having sex? Why were you doing it on the stairs instead of in a bed like normal people?”

“We didn’t think you would be home for a while and your father is able to hit just the right spot from a lower angle.”

“Gross! I didn’t need to know that. Wait…holy cats! Who is that between you?”

There are a lot of twists in the book and if there’s one weakness to the book, it would be that. The twists are goofy, as to be expected, but many of them don’t really feel like they contribute to the book. It’s already a short read and some of the twists (I’m avoiding spoilers here) just feel like padding because they’re never really followed up on, or just don’t matter in the end.

Despite that, Dodgeball High is a short but incredibly fun and hilarious read. Bradley Sands is one of the funniest authors I’ve ever read. I highly recommend this to fans of any kind of absurd humor.


4c4iIXqDBen Arzate lives in Des Moines, Iowa. His fiction and poetry has appeared in Ugly Babies, Bizarro Central, Spoilage, The Mustache Factor, Twenty Something Press, and Keep This Bag Away From Children. He blogs at

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