Book Review: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

100 Sideways MilesAndrew Smith is one of my favorite authors. I don’t otherwise pursue fiction written in the POV of teenage boys, but if they are as entertaining and humorous as his I surely will. If you are offended by the kind of language and thoughts teenage boys have about sex and girls, this probably won’t be for you. If you can get past that, his presentation on the issues and desires of teenagers is superb and moving. I really enjoyed the treatment of Finn’s epilepsy and seeing life through his eyes, as well as the mind-bender of if he is actually stuck in his father’s science fiction book.

I first heard about Andrew Smith from his other 2014 release, Grasshopper Jungle, which is a strong candidate to be my top read of the year. His combination of emotional vulnerability, humor and adventure in his cast of characters is outstanding. After reading that, I came into 100 Sideways Miles with high hopes. Andrew’s gifts come through in this story as well, but I’m afraid they didn’t equal that shown in Grasshopper Jungle. Nonetheless, still a fantastic read.

Our main character, Finn, is a junior in high school. His mom died in a strange accident involving an upside down dead horse. His dad wrote a bestselling science fiction novel called The Lazarus Door, where aliens come in the form of angels to have sex with humans before eating them. The main character of that book is also named Finn and has a scar and heterochromatic eyes like Finn as well. In the book, Lazarus doors are the entryway into Earth and the story we read has Finn choosing what door he needs to go through. The events are pretty commonplace for kids his age, though his best friend Cade is hilarious in his troublemaking and wise cracks. Finn also meets a girl, and on top of the budding romance, we go deeper into the troubles he has with his epilepsy and how it affects his self-esteem.

These kids aren’t perfect, but they are an honest representation of teenagers and the troubles they experience. As usual, I really enjoyed being swept away in Andrew Smith’s easy-to-read, humorous, and thought-provoking story. If those three are staples for what you look for in a book, his books are among the top tier of my recommendations, and 100 Sideways Miles is only a hair shy of matching Grasshopper Jungle. 4.5/5 stars.
Timothy C. Ward

ScavengerTimothy C. Ward has been podcasting since 2010, first as AudioTim, and now with AISFP. His newest story, Scavenger: Red Sands (Scavenger #1), is available on Kindle for $.99. His novel in progress, Order After Dark, is a Post-apocalyptic Fantasy set in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a former Executive Producer for AISFP. His debut novel, Scavenger: Evolution, blends Dune with Alien in a thriller where sand divers uncover death and evolution within America's buried fortresses. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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