Thursday, July 21, 2011


As soon as I heard about this book, I wanted to read it. It just sounded so different than what was out there and I desperately needed a change from the ho-hum. And that's exactly what I got.

What the back cover has to say:

Rene, an obsessive-compulsive fourteen year old, smells his hands and wears a Batman cape when he’s nervous. If he picks up a face-down coin, moves a muscle when the time adds up to thirteen (7:42 is bad luck because 7 + 4 + 2 = 13), or washes his body parts in the wrong order, Rene or someone close to him will break a bone, contract a deadly virus, and/or die a slow and painful death like someone in a scary scene in scary movie. Rene’s new and only friend tutors him in the art of playing it cool, but that’s not as easy as Gio makes it sound.

What Lila has to say:

We are always absolutely fascinated and inspired and motivated when writers nail character. This is the area where we want to improve the most as writers, the aspect of our books that usually require the most revision. And let me just say, Matt nailed character. And not just with Rene, his main player, with Gio as well.

Rene was absolutely pitch-perfect--heart-breakingly so. He's a character, because of the nature of his obsessive compulsive disorder, who spends a whole lot of time in his head, which as a writer, is a difficult place to be! Matt had to dig deep, nestle down in there and come face-to-face with who Rene needed to be. His disorder was on full disply and was extremely eye-opening. It made me think about all the different types of people in this world, all the unique qualities that make humans more human.

And I absolutely loved Gio. He had the biggest heart and wanted nothing more than to help his friend overcome some of the hurdles associated with his illness. Gio talked cool, dressed cool, acted cool--was basically the definition of cool and he balanced out the book in a very interesting way. I loved how the two characters were so extremely different, but also had some very integral things in common at the same time. Their friendship added a really amazing layer to an already fascinating book.

All in all, the book is a character study as well as a wild ride. I laughed out loud multiple times at the smartly written dialogue and was reminded of my years teaching. Really enjoyed this one! It was incredibly different than what's out there and truly a breath of fresh air.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:

Elana Johnson raves about Blood Red Road
Christine Fonseca  is wowed by The Near Witch
Beth Revis loves The Last Little Blue Envelope
Carolina Valdez Miller gushes over The Girl of Fire and Thorns – with arc giveaway
Bethany Wiggins cheers for Chime
Rosemary Clement Moore is enraptured by Entwine
Stasia Ward Kehoe applauds The Predicteds
Veronica Rossi  prances for Wildfire


Matthew MacNish said...

It always comes down to people. Even the greatest story would be nothing without the people in it.

Katie Anderson said...

This is one of those reviews that will make me rush out and buy this book. GREAT post! Congrats to Matt!

Elana Johnson said...

Very true. I really appreciate a deviation from the norm. Great review!

storyqueen said...

And let me be the first to say: The COVER! I would pick this up in a store simply because of the cover!

(Not that I make it a practice of judging books by their covers or anything...)


Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I am such a sucker for strong characterization. It will win me over every time. I love that such a cool guy would be friends with someone that has such an immense problem. So much going on here. Great review, ladies, as usual.

scattered_laura said...

I've just added this to my wishlist! It sounds great!

On a side-note... my mother won't get out of bed if the numbers on the clock add up to 13. She's uber-superstitious. Or she's a nutter, I'm yet to decide!

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