Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Argh, I forgot Elsewhere at home this morning, and so I still haven't finished it! So instead I got started on In the Break by Jack Lopez.

In the Break is about Juan, who lives in Southern California. Juan spends all his time surfing and hanging out with his best friend, Jamie. Jamie has trouble with a nasty step-dad at home, and after a particularly violent fight, Juan, Jamie and Jamie's sister Amber steal Juan's mother's car and high-tail it to Mexico. The plan is to drop Jamie off at a friend's while things calm down. But things get more complicated. Juan gets sucked into staying and surfing, and tragedy strikes, changing his world forever.

Although I have never been a teenage boy, Lopez's portrait of Juan and Jamie seem really true to life. The book made me cry in a few places, but managed to retain a very boyish sensibility. You could almost smell that gross sweat sock smell teenage boys have about them. My only complaints are that there was a lot of surfing talk. And I mean technical stuff, paragraphs of it. I imagine if you are into surfing, it makes the book more real, but if you are not, it's pretty dull. And Lopez is really excited about exclamation marks. Really! He is! All the time! Using exclamation marks! My friend Robyn once had to write a paper on end punctuation (I know!), and I feel like I should give old Jack her number, so she can straighten him up on other ways of ending sentences! Also, there is a lot of swearing. I felt that it was used appropriately, and not overmuch, but everyone feels differently on that kind of thing. For instance, Jamie's stepfather Frederick is known as "F", short for Fuckhead. To me, that is exactly the kind of thing a 15 year old boy would think was both funny and clever.

Another really great boy book I read a few months ago that this reminds me of is Ball Don't Lie. This is a portrait of a white kid who is in and out of foster care, and really only cares about playing basketball. It's a heartbreaking read, because you know that if things had been different, this kid could have really done something, but instead he manages to sabotage every part of his life, including his starring role on his school's basketball team.

So, a little depressing teen lit to get you over hump day!

In the Break by Jack Lopez
ISBN 0316008745
192 pages

Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena
ISBN 0385902581
288 pages


  • At 9:35 PM, Anonymous robyn said…

    yes! this is my first reference on the blog (i say first because i am sure there will be more), and it is in reference to a paper i wrote oh so many years ago on END PUNCTUATION. seriously, of all things you could share about me with you legions of admiring readers, you choose this? i hope this paper wasn't the height of my academic greatness....

    ps the above post casually and elegantly employs the three (. ! ?) forms of end punctuation.

    pps please note: the ellipsis is NOT a form of end punctuation; when used at the end of a sentence, the ellipsis must be followed by a period, appearing as a fourth dot.

  • At 1:38 AM, Blogger bookstore girl said…

    End punctuation was SO the height of your academic career. Who cares if you almost have a Master's in Canadian Literature. Back in first year you wrote a paper on End Punctuation!

  • At 8:43 AM, Anonymous robyn said…

    maybe i should forget my thesis and just submit that crappy ten page paper on end punctuation. what do you think?


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