Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Todd Hasak-Lowy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Darren's life feels like it's falling apart. His parents just got divorced and his dad recently came out as gay. Between his only friend moving away, his dad's new boyfriend, his mom's new job in California, and his brother's poor life decisions, Darren spends most of his time alone. Then, Zoey Lovell enters his life. Darren completely falls for her, but she disappears almost immediately. Months go by without any contact from Zoey, and Darren eventually learns that she is in a rehab center in New Mexico. His life unravels more and more until everything finally boils over on Thanksgiving. He leaves his family fighting in the middle of the street to go find Zoey, who is home for the holiday. The two go for a drive and feel that together, they might just be able to handle this messed-up world.
As stated on the cover, this is a novel written entirely in lists. At first, this format takes some getting used to, but the writing is so well-crafted and compelling that soon the lists feel like the only way this story can be told. The different aspects of Darren's life that Hasak-Lowy comes up with to be the lists are incredibly clever. Lists are orderly and logical, therefore writing such an emotionally complicated story such as this only in lists seems counter-intuitive. However, the lists add depth to the emotion. As Darren's brain tries to make sense of his circumstances and emotions with a nice orderly list, it's more obvious how much there is in his life that he can't make sense of and that can't be accurately identified and listed. This novel paints an amazingly accurate picture of how the human brain tries to make sense of intense emotion—and often fails to do so.
*Contains severe language and severe sexual content.