Author: Andrew Smith
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for this ARC!
I had a hard time with Grasshopper Jungle when I tried to read it earlier this year. It struggled to keep me engaged and I felt so lost reading it. However, I didn’t want to give up on Andrew Smith’s books because I’ve heard so many amazing things about his work and characters, and I’m happy to say that 100 Sideways Miles may have been the right book for me to start with.
I loved Finn’s narration throughout the story. He had such a genuine tone of voice and he’s very sweet and dweeby. Furthermore he always tries to be a good person even when things go sour, and he gets a lot of my sympathy considering the variety of embarrassing situations he faces throughout the story. His feelings for Julia were also so sweet and boyish, and I think that’s why I loved his character so much. He is very much what you expect from a teenage boy and he felt real despite this novel having moments that felt like the film “Stranger than Fiction.”
Cade Hernandez was also an amazing character and some of his moments really tugged my heartstrings. Smith has a way of making these wonderfully realistic characters who are easy for the reader to cling to (particularly in this story) and I was so invested in everyone’s storylines. I was so sad when Julia moved away because it was like you could see the cracks in Finn’s heart! I just found myself loving a lot of how these characters were thinking and feeling throughout.
This is a book made of feelings, and it’s amazing because of it. It’s hard not to be emotionally and physically invested in this book. These characters really share themselves with the reader in ways some YA books just don’t understand or do. You want to care about these characters, you want to hope for the best for them, even when life is shit.
This book is something I feel like a lot of people will connect with, even unexpectedly. I had such low expectations and I was worried I wasn’t going to enjoy this book at all, so I was so happy to be wrong in this case because these characters are just so memorable that after I finished it, I was sad to let them go.