Saturday, August 23, 2008

Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli

When Will learns that protons can die (protons were previously believed indestructible) his whole world changes and he begins to wonder what the future holds now that nothing is certain. This book starts off rather unimpressive, but pretty soon it changes and I feel as though the reader walks off with something important come the end of the novel.

Will's life was pretty set: annoying sister Tabby, Monopoly on Saturdays when Mi-Su and he take turns ordering pizza and BT always loses, and skateboarding on Black Viper. On the day that he learns protons die, he knows that everything will be different. When he catches Mi-Su kissing BT the night of the Star Party, he's certain that his prediction is true. Soon he's insanely jealous and desperate to kiss Mi-Su himself, which he does and then he's driven crazy not knowing how she feels. Nothing seems to be going his way until his chess tournament when he's winning but then tragedy strikes and he's forced to leave because Tabby ends up in the hospital. Faced with this tragedy, Will tries to make sense of the world, especially when what he thought was true turned out to be quite different.

For about three fourths of the book I was not intrigued. Will's obsession with the protons and the fact that everything will at some point cease to exist did not interest me. His feelings for Mi-Su didn't even seem that real. It wasn't until Tabby got hurt that I was really sucked into the book and that's only like the last 50 pages. It's not until that point that the book honestly felt genuine. True, the revelations weren't that original, but it was a sweet dose of reality that Will needed because he was so obsessed with things he couldn't control. One thing that turned me off with the book was the choppiness of it's format. I prefer more of a fluid story and I didn't really feel that when reading this book.

I couldn't relate to the main character and maybe that's what made me struggle with this novel. It was a fast read and maybe I wanted more depth to it, which I think is what impressed me with the ending because it did take a step closer to the deep end of the pool while the rest seemed somewhat shallow. I can't say that if you're a Spinelli fan that you'll love this latest because I haven't read his others. Maybe you will, maybe you won't. It's just a risk you're going to have to take because even I'm on the fence about this one.

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