Thursday, July 7, 2016

Learning to Swear in America ~ Katie Kennedy (earc) review [@bloomsburykids @KatieWritesBks]

Learning to Swear in America
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
July 05, 2016
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

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.

"Yuri Strelnikov? Russia's boy genius . . . " (pg 121)

I love he different aspects of Yuri's character and, most especially, how they all come together and what that result is. He is a genius, a physicist with his PhD, but he's also only seventeen - and now he's in a foreign country where he knows no one. I like that he's so smart, that he thinks about things mathematically and thins about things very pragmatically, it makes the science-slash-NASA-slash-asteroid parts of the novel work.

Yet, Yuri is still very much a seventeen-year-old boy, too. He thinks about sex, he wants to know how to swear in English. It adds a lot of humor to the story and his character and the author does a great job balancing his genius and his seriousness about his job and what needs to be done with how he can be distracted about Dovie, how he can have a more juvenile (not immature, just not adult) way of viewing some tings. It plays into the story in a great way.

When you also add in that Yuri is Russian, the things he doesn't know about America and/or English, his observations on Americans and the slight trouble he has with the language, it really just makes his character perfect. Author Katie Kennedy really knows her character and who she's created and written his unique, endearing, funny, original and pretty unforgettable.

Of course, the book description saying Dovie does anything 'like a normal teenager,' does her quite the disservice. I love how Dovie lives - her family, her thinking, her rings (and the reason behind them), her house, all of it. Dovie and Lennon are perfect for Yuri and the story. They'rI e like a counterpoint to his character while also being a brilliant compliment.

The wonderful, original, creative characters hat I really, really loved, the premise and how Katie Kennedy used swearing as a sort of metaphor on life and humanity is all just so good. I loved this book.

(Also, I know Yuri's blond, but I couldn't stop picturing him as Anton Yelchin's Charlie Bartlett character.)

received, from publisher, via NetGalley, for review

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