Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction Publication.Date September 2nd 2014 Pages: 277 Published By: Simon & Schuster Author Andrew Smith 100 Sideways Miles on Goodreads My review copy: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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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 knew it was a ridiculous thought, but millions of miles are sometimes difficult to bridge. After all,distance is always going to be more important than time."
"When we think about all those miles in back of us, it's easy to feel regret - sometimes because of things we didn't do, sometimes for the things we did.
Or we feel regret because of what happened to us, because we're all so goddamned innocent and undeserving.
And when we think about the miles ahead, we worry about something that probably isn't ever going to happen anyway.
Worry and regret are both useless weights that provide no drag. They never did anything to slow the planet for one goddamned second."
"Like sexual confusion and atom bombs, self-taught civil engineers are casually associated with extinction."
"Look: I do not know where I actually came from. I wonder, I suspect, but I do not know.I am not the only one who sometimes thinks I came from the pages of a book my father wrote. Maybe it's like that for all boys of a certain - or uncertain - age: We feel as though there are no choices we'd made though all those miles and miles behind us that hadn't been scripted by our fathers, and that our futures are only a matter of flipping the next page that was written ahead of us.I am not the only who's ever been trapped inside a book."
"Did you know they put dead animals into bombs?
My father told me once, If that doesn't make you a poet, Finn, nothing will.
I would rather be a poet than end up inside a bomb or a bottle of shampoo."
"The planet of humans and dogs spins and sails, spins and sails.
There is nothing I can do about it. Things keep moving. The knackery never shuts down."
Finn is an epileptic with heterochromatic eyes. And a Jew. When he was seven years old, he and his mom went for a walk along the creek. As they were passing beneath a bridge, a truck overturned on the span above them and a dead horse fell out of it. The horse fell down and hit them, killing Finn's mom. Finn's back has been broken and then put back together with pins. According to Cade, Finn's best friend, the scars on his back look like -among other things -"the tracks left in the snow by a horse with a ridiculously big hard-on."
Finn lives his life trying to prove to the world - especially himself - that he is not a character in his father's best selling one-hit-wonder novel. It's a bit of an identity crisis, I guess, and Finn struggles a lot with it. Cade's father based the character in his book on his son, giving him all of Finn's unique characteristic (his eyes, the scar on the back, epilepsy etc). And, to make things worse, it seems there isn't a person in the world who hasn't read the book and now all those people look at Finn like he just jumped out of the pages of The Lazarus Door's. Cade is the only one who treats Finn like Finn. At least, until Julia moves in. Finn falls in love, but the happiness doesn't last long, because she's here only temporary and soon enough she goes back home and Finn's back to square one. Unless he finds it in himself to do something about it...
Andrew Smith is one of my go-to authors. I am a huge fan of his books and no matter how crazy my reading schedule, I always make time for his latest releases. It's a bit of an obsession, I guess, but he is just THAT AMAZING of a writer. At the same time, I dread the moment when the time comes to sit down and write a coherent review of one of his epic works. I'm nauseated and sweating, and probably looking mentally constipated, because they're just too epic to properly review. I just can't! No matter what I say, I will never do them justice.
But let's try to squeeze something out, shall we?
100 Sideways Miles is perfect. All around and in every possible way. It is not a book for everyone, it's probably not for most, but to me it's perfect. It's special and meaningful, intelligent, witty and clever, it's highly original, emotionally piercing and all around awesome. And if I was Cade Hernandez I would totally get a boner while reading it. No joke.
It's a powerful story and its power lies in its honesty and the way it hits you right in the gut with universal truths and emotions. It's meaningful but it's also freaking hilarious, it's moving but also kind of scary in an existential kind of way. It's complex, but really kind of simple at the same time. It's just.. Brilliant.
I love Finn, Cade and Julia. I love their relationships, complete with the emotional baggage each of them brings into them. Finn is a great kid and his journey is an inspiration. Cade is so completely unapologetic, so wild and straight-forward, so cocky and full of it, I couldn't help but genuinely like him as a person. He's just so real! Everything these kids do and talk about is something other teenagers can easily relate to, and that's what makes this story so incredibly resonating!
There are moments in this book that had me laughing till my belly hurt, but there are also ones that made my eyes sweat profusely. I think those of you who have read the book already know which moments I am talking about - yes, the puppet show is on top of the list! I would recommend reading this book just for that one scene alone, for it is iconic and unforgettable.
Writing about 100 Sideways Miles makes me want to drop everything and just go and re-read the book. This is a story everyone should experience for themselves, because everyone will take different things away from it. So don't listen to me mumbling and struggling to express just how much this book affected me, or how much it impressed me, or how much it made me laugh or cry, go and experience all that for yourself. It's so freaking worth it!
About the Author
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. He lives in Southern California.
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