December 16, 2014

Latest Read: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
Publication date: Sept. 2, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC from Alexa (Thanks!)
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
Not that I really needed further convincing but 100 Sideways Miles is my third Andrew Smith book and he is just one of my favorites. Each book I've read has been so different and memorable in its own way. He has a knack for creating male perspectives that feel honest and real and we certainly get that here with Finn Easton, a boy who calculates time by miles instead of minutes. It's just his way of looking at the world. He feels trapped by two things in his life: an accident he had as a child which made him epileptic and his father's book who has a character with the same name, same scar on his back and the same heterochromiac (different-colored) eyes. Of course the book is a cult classic and most of the time, inescapable. Two important people who make him feel real and like his own person are his best friend Cade Hernandez, who might just be one of the most obnoxious yet hilarious characters I've ever met and new girl Julia Bishop, who Finn falls in love with.

I loved how Finn saw the world in miles instead of minutes, even though it took me a little getting used to. It made every moment seem so.. vast and important. And I think it illustrated that time was important to Finn. He never knows when a seizure will hit, he's desperate to feel real instead of like a character in his father's book. Plus the whole character in a book being scared of being a character in a book was so meta (I've always wanted to use that word!). It just made me root for Finn to find whatever it was that he was looking for. I thought the dynamic between him and Cade was so funny and so boy. They're such teenagers and a little bit crazy but there's this brotherhood between them that I didn't always get but I liked anyway. I also loved how Julia came into his life. They clicked in this quiet, subtle way but I could feel how much they cared.

Later in the book, Julia moves back home and Finn is understandably heartbroken. There's this scene before she left that made me want to bookmark the page to read again later. Nothing over the top dramatic but again this quiet moment where they reassure each other that they will be fine. It felt really mature and there's lots of tiny, mature moments scattered throughout the book in regards to relationships and even sex, at least from Finn's eyes. (They're teenage boys and there's a lot of sexual references/innuendos.) And I think that's ultimately what made me love this book - seeing the world from Finn's perspective.

(No) Reservations
I didn't really have any but I know some readers might be thrown by all the sexual references, especially with Cade's character. It didn't really bother me because I can imagine immature teenage boys just like him. Still, if that bothers you, consider yourself forewarned!

Do I recommend?
Yes! I love his books and would recommend checking this one out. I plan to read his entire backlog myself so 3 down, 5 more to go!

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I love the sound of this! I've yet to read an Andrew Smith novel, but I now own Winger and Grasshopper Jungle and am excited for both. I'll probably be starting with Winger just because GJ seems like a hit or miss book, the kind you love or hate, due to the weirdness (but super cool sounding) factor. I do love reading an authentic male POV, so that's another plus!

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