Summary: 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. [Goodreads]
Okay, disclaimer: I saw the horse on the cover and was immediately drawn to this book (guilty), but when I saw that it was by Andrew Smith, I knew I had to buy it. I loved Winger, and let’s just say I was ready to fall in love with a quirky male protagonist once again.
Finn Easton is a great main character. He has his faults and he doesn’t fail to admit it. He has heterochromatic eye (one blue, one green). He’s epileptic. He screws up. He can be soulful. His bullfighter name is Caballito. Finn’s narration of his strange life story is what keeps it from sounding absolutely absurd.
Although the story doesn’t actually have a structured plot, it goes with Finn’s story. He’s all over the place, so it makes sense that the book is just one crazy excursion after another. Some parts of the story have a certain timeline (like the whole Julia-Finn storyline) but it’s mostly just like a 17-year-old boys life–crazy, hilarious, meaningful at times, and always intriguing. One of my favorite things about this novel is how much I want to actually be there with Finn, Cade and Julia, not just reading the story from my room. I mean, who wouldn’t want to break into an abandoned prison just to walk around with your friends? First of all, friendship goals, and second, knowing that most of this stuff would never happen to the same person in real life is what makes this book so insanely unique.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone (because of inappropriate humor and other small factors), but I feel like most students would enjoy it. Andrew Smith always manages to capture the exciting, depressing, hilarious, discouraging and heartfelt time that is high school perfectly without making the books any kind of cliche.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Favorite Line: “Worry and regret are both useless weights that provide no drag. They never did anything to slow down the planet for one goddamned second.”