I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you sometimes like to read books. Personally, I always have a book on my coffee table that I’m reading in my spare time. In case you’re curious, at the time of this blog post, I’m halfway though Stephen King’s Revival. In the past nine months, I accidentally became aware of an up-and-coming novelist who is brilliant beyond anything I’ve seen in a long time. You may have heard me raving about Andrew Smith in the past–his book Grasshopper Jungle won the top spot in my Top 5 Summer Books, and has since won a pile of awards and accolades throughout the literature community. This guy is prolific, and in September, his second novel of the year arrived. I bought it, read it, and fell in love with it. (He has two more books slated for publication in 2015!)
The title is 100 Sideways Miles and it covers the awkward journey of teen angst, falling in love, and finding that next step to take in life with college looming in the future. All of this is seen through the eyes of Finn Easton, an epileptic teen trying to make sense of the world while trying to convince himself that he’s not simply a character in his father’s bestselling cult classic novel. He measures time through distance with regard to how far the world travels in a second. Did I mention that Andrew Smith tends to be a bit offbeat sometimes? The thing about this book, however, is how completely sweet and honest it is. Yeah, it is quirky and odd, but he reigns it in with absolute honesty and respect for his characters.
I won’t discuss the plot further, because that is best left in the capable hands of the author. Andrew Smith writes with skill, and does so in a manner that few can accomplish. (I’m a geek, so I’m in awe at the sentences he creates in the nerdiest level.) Yeah, it is unconventional at times, but it is filled with heart. The last several pages captivated me, and I loved the way he tied everything together. Get this book, open it, and fall in love with the characters, the setting, and all of its beautiful idiosyncrasies. Andrew Smith is everything that is right with contemporary fiction.
Some of his other notable works are Grasshopper Jungle, Winger, Stick, and Ghost Medicine. But hell, read all of his other books!