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.
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