Google+ Reading Teen: LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA by Katie Kennedy \\ One Of The Best Male Protags I've Read In A While...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA by Katie Kennedy \\ One Of The Best Male Protags I've Read In A While...

Review by Sara...

By Katie Kennedy
Hardcover: 346 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury (July 5, 2016)
Grade Range: 9 up
Language: English

Brimming with humor and one-of-a-kind characters, this end-of-the world novel will grab hold of Andrew Smith and Rainbow Rowell fans.

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize--if there's ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri's 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he's not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe.

I am going to start this review by saying that I simply looooooooved this book. Loved. It. It is brilliant, funny, and has one of the best male protagonists I have read in a while.

When the story starts, we meet our male protagnoist, Yuri, traveling to California. Yuri is a seventeen year old Russian prodigy genius. He has a doctorate in physicist, in the running for the Nobel prize in antimatter work, and has been summonded to help the Americans figure out a way to avoid/destory/miss/whatever the huge asteroid that is on a collision course with Earth. No pressure at all, right? Yuri is immediately thrown into the pit with the other scientists and doctors trying to solve the problem that is the asteroid. He suddenly realizes that his research in antimatter will be the best solution but no other scientist believes him. While trying to clear his head, Yuri meeting Dovie. Dovie is living her life like a typical teenager, unphased by the pending doom of the planet. 

Becoming friends with Dovie helps Yuri see what life outside of a lab can really be like. He sees that life is worth living and that it might be worth saving.

There are so many things that I loved about this book and Yuri is high on that list. Yuri was so well written that he felt real. He felt like a real teenage prodigy that spent most of his life inside the walls of a lab or classroom. If something couldn't be explained by math or science, then it was not important. Yuri was trying to hard to understand both sides of himself: prodigy physicist genius and seventeen year old teenager tasked with saving the planet and the fact that that he had never been kissed. The way he developed as the story progressed was so great to read.

Dovie's character was a little tougher for me to read as she felt forced. She is the opposite of Yuri in almost every possibly way and that almost seemed cliche. She is an artist, a daughter of hippies, quirky, and a free spirit. Yuri has never been around someone (a girl) like that before but he's attracted to her regardless. She is the only friend Yuri has in the US so he latches on to her and her brother Lennon. Lennon is in a wheelchair but he doesn't let that stop him or his snarky comments from going on crazy adventures with Yuri and Dovie. I did like Lennon as a secondary character as he brought a lot of depth to the story.

The wit sprinkled throughout this entire book had me smiling from ear to ear. I haven't actually laughed out loud while reading a book in a while. Yuri's comments and simple misuse of English phrases had me belting out laughs. The constant banter and snarky responses between Yuri and Dovie's family was brilliant. All of the kudos to Katie Kennedy for doing such a great job with the dialogue.

I don't want all of my talks of wit, amazing characters, and humor to overshadow the fact that this story is also about a huge asteroid rushing through space towards Earth. There is a lot of tension that builds as the story progresses. Will the scientists be able to stop the asteroid in time? Will Yuri save the day or will he be dismissed simply because he is 17 years old? Will the people living in California be spared? So much pressure on Yuri! Not only does he need to try to save the planet, he has to try to save his work back in Russia. As the story continued to move towards the ending, I was so invested that I skipped a meal to finish. I just had to know what happened!

I really cannot say enough good things about this book. I pretty much loved every single thing about it. I highly recommend to everyone!! This was a 4.75 star read for me. Don't let the science part of the story stop you from reading because this is not a high-techy book. It is funny, heart warming, and you will soon discover the admoriation I have for Yuri.  


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