Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 2011
For: Printz Project
Things I Liked:
Ok, that was probably the worst summary I've ever done, but this book is hard to explain. I'll talk about this more below, but I had a hard time getting into the book. What I did enjoy was when I hit a point (probably around halfway) when the seemingly completely random and disparate story lines started to come together. I was impressed with how Whaley brought them together and how they eventually made sense, especially because I was doubting it would at that point. I loved the deep and complicated ideas the book discusses and the realistically portrayed teenage boy struggling to understand why his brother disappeared. I think this one has a lot of merit and is skillfully woven. I can see what elements drew the Printz committee (and Morris committee) to choose this one.
Things I Didn't Like:
As I said, I really struggled for the first half of the book. I thought the completely different viewpoints and stories were too confusing, too random to interest me. I only really cared about Cullen's story, so when the others would suddenly appear, I wanted to put the book down. Initially, I really disliked the book, but I think it grew on me. I especially hated the third-person weird zombie dreams Cullen had - totally distracting and confusing! I'm not seeing this one having wide appeal and definitely it won't draw in reluctant readers with its slow and erractic beginning, but it does have a quiet power hidden in its depths. And just the right touch of humor to balance it. I guess it just didn't speak to me personally.
No idea. Maybe a little like The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
regularly throughout, one f-bomb
mostly off page things, but it's implied
some zombie dream stuff and maybe a few other darker issues, nothing graphic
Overall rating: ***
I'm really hit and miss with the Printz winners - doesn't it seem like they sometimes pick really odd books?
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage