Youth in Revolt

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For the film based on the novel, see Youth in Revolt (film).
Youth in Revolt
First edition
Author C. D. Payne
Country United States
Language English
Genre Epistolary novel
Published 1993 (Aivia Press)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 499 pp
ISBN 1-882647-00-9
OCLC 27010427
813/.54 20
LC Class 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).


The book's main protagonist is Nicholas "Nick" Twisp, a 14-year-old boy of above-average intelligence. Nick's 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 police. Nick 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. As Nick 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. Nick then gets "the best Christmas present a youth could receive," starting a secret relationship with Sheeni.

Nick inherits a fortune when an elderly neighbor of Joanie takes a liking to him and decides to put him in her will. When Joanie's neighbor died, Nick is briefly left half a million dollars richer, until his mother's boyfriend, a somewhat corrupt police officer, seizes the money. Faced with homelessness from the loss of the house he had been squatting in, Nick 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: François and Carlotta. Francois is the "bad side" and Carlotta is the relatively "feminine side".
  • François Dillinger - Nick's French bad side. The first name comes from Sheeni's prediction that her French future husband will have that name. He is often referred to as a separate character, "conversing" with Nick.
  • Carlotta Ulansky - Nick's feminine side, got the last name from an elderly woman he met at his sister Joanie's apartment building. Nick dresses in Fuzzy's late grandmother's clothes, passing off as Carlotta.
  • Sheridan "Sheeni" Saunders - A 14-year-old girl who is the object of Nick's desire. She is very scholarly and verbose, and is shown to be very liberal-minded. This puts her somewhat at odds with her parents.
  • Estelle Twisp - Nick's neurotic mother, an employee of the DMV.
  • George Twisp - Nick's alcoholic father, a failed writer who dates hot young women and neglects his child support duties.
  • Joanie Twisp - Nick's crudely rebellious 18-year-old sister who lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend Dr. Philip Dimby (whom Nick deliberately misaddresses ad "Dr. Dinghy")
  • 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. She is extremely old, and is often referred to as "Sheeni's 5,000-year old mother" by Nick.
  • Trent Preston - Nick's nemesis, former boyfriend/current friend of Sheeni (with whom she is still in love)
  • Lacey - George's dim-witted 19-year-old girlfriend who works as a stylist.
  • Paul Saunders - Sheeni's psychedelic older brother, who speaks in riddles, but is alone able to see through all of Nick's machinations. He has designs on Lacey.
  • Frank "Fuzzy" DeFalco - Nick's friend in Ukiah. His father owns a concrete company and is having an affair with a female employee. His mother, in retaliation, has a brief affair with George Twisp. His nickname comes from his extremely hairy body, and his clothes are described as "floating a few inches off his body"
  • Vijay Joshi - Nick's friend, and later rival, in Ukiah. He is from India and is a Republican (he later claims to be a Democrat in an effort to woo Sheeni).
  • Apurva Joshi - Vijay's 16-year-old sister, who in Nick's eyes, is second to only Sheeni in beauty.
  • Judd Ferguson - Nick's next-door-neighbor in Oakland. He later moves to Ukiah, renting the extra bedroom in George Twisp's house, so he can support the concrete worker's strike (the DeFalco concrete company).



The book has four 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. The third book 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. A fourth sequel, Son of Youth in Revolt, came out early 2012.

Cut material[edit]

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[edit]

Youth in Revolt was adapted into 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[edit]

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[edit]

In March 2004, a film adaptation of the book was announced, written by Gustin Nash and 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, Brighton, and Hazel Park. It was released on January 8, 2010.[3]