Tuesday, March 10, 2015

100 Sideways Miles

100 Sideways Miles

by Andrew Smith


Destiny takes a detour in this heartbreakingly hilarious novel from the acclaimed author of Winger, which Kirkus Reviews called “smart” and “wickedly funny.”

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.

My thoughts:

After a bizarre accident that involved a dead horse falling off a bridge which killed his mother and let Finn with epileptic episodes and a weird scar pattern on his back Finn Easton's father wrote a science fiction book that became a cult classic.  One of his father's characters has Finn's name, his heterochromatic eyes, his epilepsy, his weird back scar, and his odd habit of measuring time in miles traveled by the earth instead of minutes and hours making Finn feel like he is trapped in his father's book unable to move forward. To make matters worse he lives in a California canyon that was the site of a major dam-break disaster (he is a bit obsessed about it) and his best friend Cade, who has never treated Finn like he is a character in his father's book (mainly because he has never read said book) is the King of the school which means Finn is always in his shadow. All this adds up to Finn having a fairly negative look on life and feeling rather stuck in place.  Things change when Finn meets Julia, a new student from Chicago, who finds Finn's oddness endearing instead of just plain weird. When Julia tells him that she is moving back home Finn is crushed and seems to return to the same bleak place he was in before meeting Julia. Deciding to ahead with what is supposed to be a simple road trip with Cade to visit an Oklahoma University ends up being an adventure that involves a torrential downpour, a heroic water rescue, mistaken identities and a detour to Chicago that finally allows Finn to feel like he has broken free of his father's book and can life his own life.  Andrew Smith has written another stunning masterpiece of fiction in 100 Sideways Mile which following the success of his novels Grasshopper Jungle and Winger is no surprise.  This is a story about first loves and friendship, about high school antics and how teenagers worry about sex (it involves one of the funniest scenes about buying condoms which having been written by Smith you would expect nothing less). But Finn's way of measuring distance instead of time and his ideas about recycled atoms will make the reader stop and thinking about the "big picture" and how in reality humans are only a small speck in the universe. This novel is truly original and readers won't be able to put it down till the very last page.

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