Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Blurb: (from goodreads) Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.
With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.
Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.
Me: I have never laughed so much in a book. ever.
The Ups: It was so funny. Like not even funny, funny. I laughed until I cried at least 2 times in this book, which is pretty amazing, if you think about it. I usually don't even laugh out loud too hard, just give a little chuckle. But the humor in here is priceless. Just the situations that Ryan Dean gets into...gosh. I mean the book starts off with:
"I said a silent prayer. Actually, silent is probably the only kind of prayer a guy should attempt when his head's in a toilet."
Is there anything better than this? I think not. My personal favorite moment was when he was at the airport and his bandage fell off his balls so he had to go into a special security area and get completely examined...YES. (you probably think I'm crazy, but that's why you have to read the book.)
Also, Ryan Dean was just absolutely lovable. Not cute, per se, but relatable and kind of pathetic in a way that made you connect to him and his friends. Annie, Joey, Casey, JP, Seanie, all of them felt like people I could name in real life, people that walk around the hallways of school all the time. And that's another thing that made this book real special. It's that every one in it felt like my friend, someone I knew really well, someone I loved.
I think that's what made the ending even more crazy for me. It put me into shock, into one of those frozen moments where you refuse to acknowledge reality. It was horrifying and shocking and gosh, it was beautiful. I really liked how the "climax" happened really near the end too, I think it was a different format that was really interesting to read.
The Downs: Despite all the humor and such, since the book's climax was a bit towards the end, I found myself getting really bored in the chapters right before it. I wanted to skim over pages and I kind of grew tired of Ryan Dean's voice after a while, until the ending.