Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review: "100 Sideways Miles" by Andrew Smith

Finn Easton doesn't know how to get out of his father's book (or if it is even possible).  The way his father's bestselling scifi novel ends is particularly frustrating for Finn, as well as the legions of fans across the country.  What Finn does know is that he is epileptic, he has survived a dead horse falling on him  (though it did kill his mother), his best friend is Cade Hernandez and he loves a girl named Julia Bishop.  Julia moves away at the end of the school year, and Finn is crushed... but a college road trip with Cade brings everything back into a new reality.

This is a difficult book to describe.  It is everything I love about Smith:  unusual circumstances, elements that just shouldn't make sense but do, and endearing male teen characters.

Finn is a great character.  He has a unique outlook on life where he prefers to think of time in terms of miles traveled on Earth.  It is a little confusing at first, but then it just becomes natural.  It really changes and screws with our perception of time, and how time affects us all differently but kind of the same too.  I know that makes no sense, but trust me.  Cade is a good secondary character to Finn; he is more outspoken, more adventurous and also takes care of Finn when he "blanks out" or has an epileptic seizure.

I found it very interesting to read about seizures from Finn's point of view.  I have no experience with this, and do not know anyone who has epilepsy.  While I imagine that Finn's experience when seizing is probably unique only to him, it at least gives me a slight idea of what it might be like for some people.  Finn was very capable in so many different areas, and I hated how restricted he was by his epilepsy and how it rendered him helpless and very often embarrassed.

But this isn't just about a kid with epilepsy...  it's about a kid trying to determine if he can get out of his father's book or not; can he create his own future or is it all laid out for him already?  I love how Finn discovers his answer and owns it.  Another great book from Andrew Smith!

100 Sideways Miles
by Andrew Smith
Simon & Schuster, 2014
277 pages
Source:  Gift


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