Audience: 3rd Grade & Up
Format: Hardcover/Library copy
The thing about this, and what I seriously don't get here, is that it was Ethan.
- first sentence
Ethan is a 7th grader who has difficulty sitting still in school all day. One day, during his last period (Language Arts), he stands up and refuses to sit down despite repeated warnings from his teacher. As a result, he receives two days of after school reflection (aka detention). This begins a series of events that ends with Ethan and his sister (Erin) both competing in the Invention Day fair. The story is told from 5 different points of view - Ethan, his best friend Brian, Erin, her best friend Zoe, and troublemaker Wesley (who may not be as bad as he seems).
The story is a quick, easy read that is appropriate for kids even in 3rd grade - nothing too heavy or serious and a lot of humor will appeal to students who enjoy books like James Patterson’s Middle School series.
This book is the November selection of my library's "Forever YA" book club. I had never heard of this book or Jeff Zentner, and I would probably not have stumbled across this book if it hadn't been a club selection. Now I'm an instant fan of Zentner's.
Lydia, Dill, and Travis are outcasts at their Forrestville, Tennessee high school. Fortunately, they have one another. Lydia writes a fashion blog that has gotten her attention from influential people and secured future roommates for if/when she goes to university in NYC. Dill's father is a disgraced, snake-handling Pentecostal minister who is serving a prison sentence. Dill is expected to work to pay off his father's debts. Travis works in a lumber yard and escapes his physically and emotionally abusive father by losing himself in a book series that sounds very much like George R. R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series.
I love me some quirky, creative teenage characters, especially ones who enjoy "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division. I of course had to go on YouTube and watch/listen to the video.
I don't want to give away this book's secrets. I will only say that this book has so much heart and humor. There are parts that made me cry. I was lying in bed, listening to the audiobook, tearing up, and thinking, "DAMN you, book!"
Thank you, Albany Public Library, for introducing me to this book and author. I will definitely be seeking out more books by Jeff Zentner.