Motorcycles, Sushi and One Strange Book

25 Mar

Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange BookNancy Rue

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2010

Paperback: 221 pages

Book Blurb:

Normal? While family dinners and vacations to touristy destinations are ordinary events for her ‘normal’ friends, fifteen-year-old Jessie Hatcher’s normal life means dealing with her ADHD and her mother’s bipolar disorder. So why is Jessie shocked when the unexpected happens? Now her ‘normal’ includes living in Florida with the father she always thought was dead and learning the secrets of sushi from a man who teaches by tormenting her. Life isn’t any saner with her dad, but a cute guy and a mysterious book might just be the crazy Jessie needs.

Stand alone or series: It’s kind of both. This is book one in the Real Life series, however the novels follow the Real Life book (a mystical, physical book within the novel) instead of the girls. At the end of each novel the book is passed on to someone new and they are the person we see featured in the next book.

Why I read this book: I am interested in teen novels dealing with real-life issues. I’ve found many novels that gloss over the difficult parts and I’m always interested when a novel tackles those issues head-on.

Review:

Jessie’s life is messed up and she doesn’t even know it. To Jess her mom’s In-Bed Phases, where she doesn’t stir from her darken room for days or weeks, and her No-Bed Phases, where she cleans the house with a toothbrush and designs shoes, are normal. Her friends think her hyperactive flip-outs and bouts of wild behavior are funny and that’s why they keep her around. To make matters worse, her father shows up—the father she thought was dead since her birth.

Lou, missing father, walks in to a situation he couldn’t have imagined. When bad goes to worse, he takes Jess home with him to Florida. Her biggest fear is that her father will discover her “disorder”, as her ADHD has been referred to her whole life.

The writing was impressive. Rue writes the first few chapters so deep into Jess’s head that I felt ADHD as I read them. I started to fidget, my thoughts and speech became more disconnected. I was going up the wall. Yet Rue knew just when to cool it down. Right before I was about to throw the book at the wall to stop the insanity, she pulled back to focus more on the story than the style. It was a perfect maneuver and I was hooked—I had a lot of sympathy for the poor girl.

Yet Rue does not make Jess out to be a “poor girl.” That’s what I love about the Real Life series. Jess begins in a horrible situation in which she has no control. Then with the help of God, and a stabilizing adult figure, she takes control of her life. She stops surviving and starts to thrive.

This was a great book. (Don’t read it during finals when you need to concentrate thought.) I would recommend this book to all teens, though it is largely geared towards girls. I would also suggest this book to parents. I’m still closer to the teen side, than to being a parent of a teen, but I thought the parenting style of the dad was pretty cool. I enjoyed watching the way he handled a number of situations. Again, don’t start this book when you need to concentrate, but you should definitely start… and finish it.

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