100 Sideways Miles

100 Sideways Miles.jpg

Book Information
Rating: Dependable
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9781442444959
Pages: 277

Finn Easton is a sixteen-year-old epileptic who sometimes believes that he is merely a character in his father's cult-classic science fiction novel. The parallels between his life one of the characters are remarkable, but it sort of freaks Finn out that he could merely exist within the pages of a book. Beyond that, he has to go through high school as the kid with epilepsy who just might have a seizure at any moment. He therefore has one friend only, Cade Hernandez, a back-talking, tobacco-chewing, lovable yet rowdy guy. The summer before Finn's junior year, he and Cade wonder at what life has in store for them. Finn falls in love, Cade maybe sort of does as well, and the two boys become unlikely heroes in a flooding accident far from home. In the end, Finn might not know exactly who he is and what he wants, but he knows he is his own person and that he can make his own destiny.

This book has some intriguing plot lines and characters, but it feels pretty disjointed at times. The narration sometimes skips ahead in time, then goes back to the present, then dabbles in a memory, then explains the events leading up to the present moment, and so on. There are also a few moments that the plot spends a lot of time on that will later seem irrelevant, and the plot itself does not have a typical arc. While this is not always bad, this book doesn’t seem to accomplish non-traditional storytelling very well. Finn and Cade are both pretty likable, though their personality traits and life experiences are a bit too much to believe at times. Overall, this book has some good emotional moments true to the universal teenage experience, but these moments are wrapped in a convoluted plotline that leaves readers struggling to understand what the point of it all is at the end of the story.

*Contains severe language, moderate sexual content, and mild violence.