Identify this young-adult fiction book by fuzzy description?

Setting: some High School. Unusual guy shows up, starts a kind of alternative publication, a single-word title like FURTHER or MORBID or ANGST, heck if I know what word but a single word. It gets trendy and popular. There is a mainstream / traditionally popular kind of couple, sort of akin to jock+cheerleader who are the other two main characters.

The alternative press does personal ads. A typical personal ad would be:

So the cheerleaderish/popular girl places an ad, and the quirky guy who started the publication replies to her, cheating because as editor he knows who she is (something she didn’t share in the ad). Her ad was something akin to


The secret word was some silly everyday kind of word. Rosebud. Lillies. Partridge. Cinnamon. Heck if I can recall. Anyway, he sends her a reply to her alt-press mailbox admitting he’s the editor and knows who she is and has had a crush on her since first he saw her. They hook up.

The jock/mainstreamish popular guy gets all flabbergasted then gets contemplative and by the end of the book he’s kind of switched places with the alt-press guy, his philosphy is more like what was espoused by ANGST or whatever it was called. Meanwhile the beatnik-editor guy is now all happily-ever-aftering with Susie Cheerleader.


It sounds funny. Is it funny? Kind of reminds me of Gordon Korman meets Daniel Pinkwater.

No help–I hope somebody recognizes it for you!

Is this from the '90s? '80s? Probably will help to know when you read it.

I read this book! I couldn’t remember the title, but remembered the author was M.E. Kerr, so I searched on and found If I Love You, Am I Trapped Forever? The publication was called REMOTE, and the literary-minded kid was named Duncan. I remember wishing there was a Duncan-type guy at my high school, and thinking that if the jock in the book wasn’t so self-involved, he would’ve noticed Duncan quietly stealing his girlfriend away.

That’s it, all right, thanks!