100 SIDEWAYS MILES by ANDREW SMITH
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.
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About the Author
Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger (Starred reviews inPublishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year,” and an ALA Top 10 for 2014) and The Marbury Lens(A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in bothPublishers 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. Grasshopper Jungle, a starred novel by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, andShelf Awareness, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.
SOURCE: Amazon Vine / Publisher
MY THOUGHTS: ABSOLUTELY IT
Finn has been immortalized in fiction. His father based a character in his best-selling, cult classic on him and although his dad uses a pen name, people freak when they realize Finn is Finn. After his mother was killed and he was injured in a bazaar accident when a horse fell off a bridge and struck them, he still carries the scars of the surgeries need to repair his body. Cade, Finn’s best friend and somewhat protector, is the school star baseball pitcher and smart ass., who says what most people would like to but are much too polite. Each day, Cade makes up a new description for what Finn’s scars resemble. It varies from sexual innuendos to the inane. Since Finn also suffers from epilepsy because of the accident, his mind thinks in distance traveled rather than time. I found that odd little quirk quite endearing.
As the school year progresses, Finn has success on the baseball field and finally finds love with the girl who moves in down the street from him. Julia is everything he has ever dream about and when she returns his feelings, he is over the moon. Thankfully, Smith inserts lots of stargazing analogies into this equation. Julia witnesses an ‘episode” and treats Finn normally which makes him fall even more in love with her. When Julia returns back to Chicago, (sorry, no spoilers), they do manage to keep in touch and inspires Cade to detour on their trip to visit a college they both would like to attend. That is one amazing road trip for the boys. It brings together all major coming of age tales into one magnificent conclusion.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Smith at several book fests, but for some reason never picked up any of his books until a friend and author really forced me to buy Grasshopper Jungle. I still haven’t read that but now I have moved it up in my TBR pile. This story was full of all the stuff I like: humor, sarcasm, and the fact that growing up doesn’t happen all at once. Parents: there is language, alcohol and drug references, sexual situations. They are all kept in fitting with the story and not gratuitous. I especially loved how Finn interacted with his parents and that they took the time to let him grow while entrusting him to make the right choice. Most kids do make the right choice given the chance.
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