Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli

The flyleaf description teases the reader better than I can describe:
chess champ,
pepperoni pizza eater,
older brother,
sister hater,
best friend,
first kisser,
science geek,
control freak
(cracks me up that there's an error in this though - Will is the anchovy, extra sauce pizza eater - Mi-Su eats the pepperoni pizza)
Will Tuppence has two best friends and they play Monopoly and eat pizza at Will's or Mi-Su's house. BT is always broke, lives his life fearlessly and loves little kids, including Tabby, Will's sister. Tabby will be going into kindergarten. Will is in high school and he wouldn't know Tabby was around if she didn't torment him so much. Will is figuring out who he loves and how to express it.
By page 100 I was engaged enough to be happy to keep reading . The voices ring true, Spinelli writes about friendships and family, facing fears and navigating emotions in relationships. Will is devastated by a new science discovery and marks the days after the news of the event that turns his world focus away from himself - PD145, PD191 (like 2008AD). Some of Tabby's attention getting antics mirrors Will's attempts to be noticed by a certain girl. The romantic triangle was wrapped up a little too conveniently, but still believable. Spinelli creates compelling characters, and balances action, humor and dialogue with good pacing. This may or may not make it to the top twenty, but worthy of discussion. YAY

1 comment:

Katie said...

I had an opposite feel for this book. I feel that Spinelli writes with a sense of nostalgia that does not ring true to the character's voice. I also felt much of the dialogue/lingo was contrived and these kids did not seem mature enough to be high schoolers to me.