Friday, October 15, 2010

The Summer I Got a Life by Mark Fink

The Summer I Got a Life
Mark Fink
WestSide Books
Copy borrowed from the Library
Andy Crenshaw, 15, is about to have a summer he didn't expect. He lives in the shadow of his good-looking, athletic older brother, Brad, and they don't get along. Lately they only agree on their excitement over their upcoming trip to Hawaii. But the family's plans change at the last minute, packing the boys off to rural Wisconsin. They'll be stuck with their wacky, free-spirited aunt and uncle - on a farm with no cable TV and internet.
Things start looking up when Andy scores a date with Laura, a cute teenage local celebrity pianist, and even Brad's impressed. Laura's amazing: besides her late night jam sessions at a local jazz club, she's the funniest, little-bit-crazy girl Andy's ever met. He's shocked at first to see her in a wheelchair, but nothing stops Laura - her killer bowling skills leave Andy in the dust.

Meanwhile, Andy and Brad share a series of misadventures and narrow escapes that move their brotherhood to a whole different level. It all adds up to a summer no one will soon forget.
If you want a believable story, skip it. If, on the other hand, you want to have FUN, then by all means pick this up! Even while we were thinking "Yeah, right," we were snorting with laughter. In fact, Freaky snorted so hard he got water up his nose, and contrary to popular belief, water turtles are not built that way. It kind of reminded us of this scene:
Darryl was laughing so hard he started to cough. But then he started to choke, and he seemed to have trouble breathing.
"S**t. Maybe we should do CPR," I said.

"I'm not putting my lips on Snot."

"Fine, I'll do it. Is it four breaths and two compressions, or two breaths and four compressions?"

"You're asking me? You know I suck at math."

"Is he looking a little blue to you?" I asked.

"He always looks a little blue to me."
See? A little juvenile. Sometimes a little over the top. But very very funny. Or, maybe we are just juvenile and over the top. At any rate, we think it's a book both boys and girls will enjoy, and after some of the stinkers we have read (and declined to review) lately, it was a welcome change.

Two minor quibbles: One, the cover doesn't fit. It makes it look like a much more serious book than it is, and while the title is catchy, there is nothing about the picture that would grab a teenage boy's attention and say, "Hey, there's funny stuff involving chicken poop in here!"

Two, and this is a very MINOR quibble that most people wouldn't notice but a copy editor should have caught and we probably only did because Miss Ami was a copy editor at one point: page 104, it was 'specially' built for her, not 'especially' built for her. See, that is SO minor, we are embarrassed to even mention it, but it was bugging Miss Ami so much we have agreed to humor her.

Other than some very mild swearing, this is a refreshingly 'clean' book you can give to just about everyone. We give it a

4 out of 5.

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