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Youth in Revolt  
Paperback cover
Author C. D. Payne
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Epistolary novel
Publisher Aivia Press
Publication date June 1993
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 499 pp
ISBN 978-1882647002
OCLC Number 27010427
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 20
LC Classification PS3566.A9358 Y68 1993

Youth in Revolt: The Journals of Nick Twisp is a 1993 epistolary novel by C. D. Payne. The story is told in a picaresque fashion and makes heavy use of black humor and camp. The book contains parts one through three of a six-part series (the three sequential parts were published as three separate books).


Plot summary

The book's protagonist is Nicholas "Nick" Twisp, a 14-year-old boy of above-average intelligence. His life continues like a normal teenager's with his best friend Leroy, a.k.a. Lefty, and his divorced parents George and Estelle. His mother is dating a truck driver named Jerry, who sells a group of sailors a Chevy Nova that dies soon after the sailors get it. In response, the sailors go for revenge. After outsmarting them, Jerry strategically decides to take a vacation, so they all go to a religious mobile home camp.

It is there that Nick meets Sheridan "Sheeni" Saunders and his life is turned completely upside down. Through plots to get Sheeni closer to him he ends up with several crimes on his hands and is forced to run from the cops. He tricks everyone into thinking he went to India, thereby escaping the police. Nick hides out with his sister Joanie and returns with help from his friend in Ukiah, Frank "Fuzzy" DeFalco. He dresses in Fuzzy's late grandmother's clothes, adopting the name Carlotta and a conservative disposition, so that Nick may enter the public. As he does so, he befriends Sheeni and several other people who Nick knew before. While spending the night with Sheeni on Christmas Eve, she reveals to him that she knew from the beginning it was him, not Carlotta. He then gets "the best Christmas present a youth could receive," starting a secret relationship with Sheeni.

He inherits a fortune when an elderly neighbor of Nick's older sister takes a liking to Nick and decides to put him in her will. When she dies Nick is briefly left half a million dollars richer, until his mother's boyfriend, a somewhat corrupt cop, seizes the money. Faced with homelessness from the loss of the house he had been squatting in, he becomes rich beyond belief when an idea of his, a wart watch, makes it big.


  • Nicholas "Nick" Twisp - The 14-year-old protagonist. The novel is told through his journal entries. Nick is a cynical teen who pines for Sheeni Saunders. He creates, throughout the story, two alter egos: Francois and Carlotta. Francois is the "bad side" and Carlotta is the relatively "feminine side".
  • Fran├žois Dillinger - Nick's French bad side. The first name comes from Sheeni's prediction that her French future husband will have that name.
  • Carlotta Ulansky - Nick's feminine side, got the last name from an elderly woman he met at his sister Joanie's apartment building. Dresses in Fuzzy's late grandmother's clothes, Nick later passes off as Carlotta.
  • Sheridan "Sheeni" Saunders - A hyper-intelligent 14-year-old girl who is the object of Nick's desire.
  • Estelle Twisp - Nick's neurotic mother, an employee of the DMV.
  • Joanie Twisp - Nick's crudely rebellious 18-year-old sister who lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend Dr. Philip.
  • Mr. Elwyn Saunders - Sheeni's strict lawyer father. He also is quick to anger, not fond of Nick, but likes Trent.
  • Mrs. Saunders - Sheeni's religious mother, also is not fond of Nick, but she accepts Trent.
  • Trent Preston - Nick's arch nemesis, former boyfriend/current friend of Sheeni (with whom she is still in love)
  • Lacey - George's dim-witted 19-year-old girlfriend.
  • Paul Saunders - Sheeni's older brother. He has the amazing talent of reading Nick's life like a book, as if he knows all the answers; Nick's "oracle". Much of this knowledge perhaps comes from his extensive use of psychedelic drugs including psilocybin-containing mushrooms. He knows Carlotta is really Nick.
  • Judd Ferguson - The Twisp's sensible landlord. A union leader.
  • Jerry - Estelle's boyfriend as the story opens, whom Nick dislikes. He drives trucks professionally.
  • Wallace "Wally" Rumpkin - Estelle's second boyfriend, a tall and shy truck driver with encyclopedic trivia knowledge. Despite his Jerry-like career, Nick likes him.
  • Lance Wescott - Third and final man Estelle has "shanghaied into her bed"; a fascist member of the Oakland Police department.
  • Francis Albert Sinatra "Fuzzy" DeFalco - A hirsute friend of Nick's in Ukiah. His mother is attractive despite her advanced age and attempts to seduce Nick in a trailer.
  • Vijay Joshi - Republican Indian whom Nick befriends and also gets stabbed in the back by.
  • Apurva Joshi - Vijay's sister whom Nick falls for. She is in love with Trent.
  • Bernice Lynch - One of the girls that attends the French boarding school in Santa Cruz with Sheeni (used by Nick in his plot to win her back)
  • Taggarty - Another of the girls who attend the French boarding school in Santa Cruz with Sheeni (ruins Nick's plot to win her back).
  • Flora Crampton - George Twisp's live-in maid. Dwayne's mother.
  • Dwayne Crampton - The dim-witted son of George Twisp's live-in maid. A possible homosexual because he drugged and violated Nick, and later attempted to violate Mr. Ferguson.
  • Bertha Ulansky - Carlotta's spiritual mother. The elderly woman of which Nick took the surname of his feminine side, Carlotta. She lived in the apartment across from Joanie. She has had many uncredited appearances in old films.
  • Bruno Modjaleski - A dim-bulb football player at Redwood High, who continually attempts (with no success) to woo Carlotta.
  • Dr. Philip Dindy - Joanie's scrawny physicist boyfriend. He's married, but, thanks to Nick, is dumped by his wife.



The book has three sequels. The first is Revolting Youth: The Further Journals of Nick Twisp, a book that is roughly the size of one of the three books that make up Youth in Revolt. The second is Young and Revolting: The Continental Journeys of Nick Twisp, and the last book in the series is Revoltingly Young: The Journals of Nick Twisp's Younger Brother, which picks up thirteen years after the events in Young and Revolting.

Cut material

Additionally, Cut to the Twisp: The Lost Parts of Youth In Revolt and Other Stories features all of the material that was edited out of post-1993 editions of the first three volumes that make up Youth in Revolt, as well as other short works by Payne.

Stage play

Youth in Revolt was adapted into to an unsuccessful stage play in 1994 by Carl Hamilton and Bob Warden of Box Car Productions. It had its premier at the Cable Car Theater in San Francisco in 1994. It has also been produced in Denver and several locations throughout Northern California with greater success. It is based on the first book, Youth in Revolt.

TV pilot

In 1998, MTV and Fox television worked together on a television show based on the book.[1] A pilot was filmed, but it was never developed further.

Film adaptation

In March 2004, a film adaptation of the book was announced. As of August 2006, the books Young and Revolting and Revoltingly Young feature the text, "Watch for the new Nick Twisp movie, coming soon from Dimension Films" on the back cover. The film, based on the novel, was directed by Miguel Arteta.[2] Michael Cera stars in the role of Nick Twisp, newcomer Portia Doubleday plays Sheeni Saunders, Ray Liotta is Lance Wescott, Jean Smart is Estelle Twisp, Steve Buscemi is George Twisp, and Erik Knudsen is Leroy "Lefty". Justin Long plays Paul Saunders, Sheeni's older brother. The movie was filmed in Michigan. The locations were Royal Oak, Michigan, Rochester, Michigan, Frankfort, Lake Leelanau RV Park, Interlochen, Lake Ann, Ferndale, Detroit, South Lyon, Ann Arbor, Wixom and Hazel Park. It was released on January 8, 2010.[3]

External links


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