This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through the ALA Convention at the permission of Simon and Schuster. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.
Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction
Part of a Series?:
September 2nd 2014
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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.
I will never stop being grateful to the Ontario Teen Book Fest in 2013 for turning me to this author. I don’t know that I would have never read him without that, I’d like to think I would have eventually discovered his brilliance but thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
When 100 Sideways Miles became available on Edelweiss, I requested it over and over and over again, getting rejected so many times before they finally told me yes. I think they just wanted me to go away…and then just a couple months ago, I got my hands on a copy of it at the ALA Conference in Las Vegas and was satisfied that I would be able to reread it in order to write my review. This book comes out on Tuesday and this is a MUST pick up.
What has always struck me as the most wonderful thing about Andrew Smith’s books is that they can be weird, wacky, straight up confusing and out of this world. There’s always a little something about his book or his story that is just a little weird. But it never feels that way. You never really think about it while you’re reading. Actually, I usually only ever think about it when I’m trying to convince other people to read his books. “I know, it sounds so weird, but trust me, this book will change your life!”
But that’s the beauty of it. He writes such incredible, realistic, relatable characters that the story is always believable from beginning to end. His characters are some of the richest characters I’ve read in a book before. They have all stayed with me as some of the most memorable characters. They’re so incredibly real, and I need that a lot for teen characters. They have their faults, and they make mistakes and they think some of the most incredibly stupid things but they’re also clever, and emotional and full of so much potential. This is true of Finn Easton.
Finn is basically on a journey to figure himself out. He’s the boy out of his father’s novel. He’s the boy plagued with seizures. He’s the boy who is best friends with Cade Hernandez. There are so many labels but none of them really tell us who he is. Its the journey he takes in this book, both with his relationship with Julia and his actual venture to go see her, that we really see him come into his own. A coming of age story is not a new thing and yet Andrew Smith manages to make each and every one he writes seem unique and entertaining. I was rooting for Finn the entire way, hoping that he figured out what he wanted, and that he would make his way back to Julia.
And there’s just always that little fact that Andrew Smith’s books can make me laugh like no one else. Its just the smallest little things, little quips that just make me crack up. Sometimes I don’t even know if its intentionally funny but its just great. He writes as if you’re really and truly in the head of the character and its brilliant, because you get all of those side thoughts that you normally don’t get in books, and it just makes me laugh and it makes his story and his characters better, more genuine and more authentic. I absolutely love it.
Bottom line is this, if you haven’t read an Andrew Smith book, what are you waiting for? You definitely should! In the past year-ish, he’s released Winger, Grasshopper Jungle and now 100 Sideways Miles and they’ve all been so fantastic. If there’s a book that you’re going to pick first, do this one! Its funny and real and beautiful and you’re going to laugh and you’re going to get emotional and you’re going to love every minute! And its not too long and its a standalone and there’s just about a bajillion (that’s a real number, I swear) more reasons to read it so just do it already! It hits bookstores Tuesday :D
5 out of 5 Stars