Friday, November 7, 2014

100 Sideways Miles - Review

Author: Andrew Smith
Publication Date: September 2, 20

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Age Recommendation: 16 and up (Strong Language and an abundance of talk about sex)

Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:
Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved. Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma.  When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.

My Review: 

100 Sideways Miles is a quirky, weird, witty, strange, funny, unique, awesomely beautiful bookThis is one oc those books that will stick with you forever and leave you wondering what it is all about, it being life, the world, the universe...all of IT.

"When you think about it the universe is nothing but this vast knackery of churning black holes and exploding stars, constantly freeing atoms that collect together and become something else, and something else again."  -Finn

Finn Easton is 'fine now'.  At least that is what he wants you to believe.  He's lived billions of miles in his lifetime, perhaps a few billion more than other teenage boys.  He lost his mother and in many way himself when a dead horse on the way to a knackery fell from a bridge landing on top of he and his mother.  His mother dies, his back is broken, he becomes epileptic, and his father writes a weirdly fascinating book  that wasn't at all about Finn, but was.  

I thoroughly enjoyed Finn's character.  He's thoughtful (I don't mean in a kindness kind of way, in fact he can be down right surly at times), he's introverted, he's lost in the vastness of the universe simply trying to understand it all and find his own way.  He desperately wants to be a normal teenage guy, but what he can't see is that he is normal just with some extraordinary circumstances, because none of us are truly normal which makes us all normal in the end.  

I loved his relationship with his family, particularly his father.  It is refreshing to see a YA book where family relations are not filled with angst and hurt.  I cherish the idea that he and his father would sit out in the mornings having coffee just talking.

"Look:  Words did not frighten my father.  They scared the shit out of me.  I almost couldn't believe I'd worked up the guts to ask the question and not choke to death in the process.  But words were the atoms in my father's universe, and he was their destroyer and their creator." - Finn

They have the type of relationship I think we would all like to have with our children.  An honest, loving, disciplined, yet freeing relationship.  I think I will start implementing coffee (or hot chocolate for now) mornings with my daughters now. 

Now, Cade...Cade Hernandez.  Cade Hernandez, hmmmm.  I have to say as a 'grown-up' and a mother I just don't know what to do with this boy besides lock my two daughters away, shake my stick at him and ponder loudly about the fact that I am sure he is up to no good.  I truly wanted to dislike Cade Hernandez, I wanted to believe he was a bad guy, a bad friend.  What I ended up realizing is that for all his bravado he is simply as lost and confused as Finn, but no one sees the loneliness and fear through the personality he portrays.  In fact I think in the end I am frustrated more with Finn because I am not sure Finn sees it either.  I suppose that in the end though it doesn't matter what this forty year old mom of two girls thinks about Cade Hernandez because to teenage boys everywhere Cade Hernandez is a god.  

Although I don't want to believe that this is the way teenage boys are (goes to lock up my girls), I can't help but feel that Andrew Smith has written them precisely as they are.  There is not glossing over and making boys seem prettier than they really are, this is simply the nature of boydom.  With that I will say that this book will not be for everyone, although I think everyone should read it because underneath all the talk of  'boners' and foul language

"Now we were caught up in the Burnt Mill Creek High School mission to make us quit saying "fuck," which is more or less a comma -a punctuation mark- to most teenager when they speak.  The teachers and administrators at Burnt Mill Creek High School might just as well have focused their energies on getting tectonic plates to quite making so  many fucking earthquakes." - Finn 

is an amazing story about a boy simply trying to find his way.  To find that he's a normal as the next guy, that his life is his own.  I don't really even know how to explain the writing in this book (you will get past the repetition quickly and it will grow on you), it is poetic, it is beautiful, it is the kind of book that you'll read front to back in one sitting because it's mesmerizing.  It is the kind of book that you will want to pick back up as soon as you finished it and read it again because you've become addicted in about '20 miles per second'.

I feel as though this book should be required reading for every teenaged boy.  Andrew Smith simply put's it out there the way it is.  He does it with out sounding condescending to boydom, with an understanding that is hard to find in other books that revolve around being a teenager.  He lays it all out, the doubts, the struggles, the desire to both be 'normal' and an individual.  He shows us it is okay to be afraid, it is okay to not know where you are going, to be uncertain about how you got there.  He does this in a way that makes you laugh, cry, cringe, and hope.  He does it because we all feel this way, even this forty year old mom of two girls who are now banging on their bedroom door while I shout back at them...CADE HERNANDEZ!  

He does this all in 'twenty miles per second' and I feel like absolutely none of those miles were wasted in reading this book!   

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed WINGER (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and THE MARBURY LENS (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).
He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles.
 STAND OFF, the sequel to WINGER, coming in January 2015, is his ninth novel. Andrew lives in Southern California.

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1 comment:

  1. You totally rock my literary world. I adore your reviews as they are thought out and exceptional. Thank you so much for always supporting myself and my authors. x