Andrew Smith’s long anticipated book “100 Sideways Miles” hit the shelves in early September. The book focuses on Finn Easton, a baseball-playing, epileptic teen whose life is dominated by his uncontrollable and aggravating illness. Smith takes the reader on a hilarious journey into Finn’s life and the sprinkles of humor and drama throughout are reminiscent of Smith’s witty and insightful writing style.
Smith is a well-known young adult author. Some of his most popular books like “Winger” and “Grasshopper Jungle” have received starred reviews in acclaimed review publications like Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. On September 15, “100 Sideways Miles” was recognized on the 2014 Longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. So far the book has been well-received by many readers.
Although humor plays a prominent role in the book, it also subtly deals with sensitive topics like illness and loss. Smith’s narrative is filled with sarcastic monologue, but Finn’s struggles to fit in and overcome the inconveniences of his illness are what make the book a heartfelt coming- of-age story.
Similar to John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” Smith’s book presents illness in a refreshing way that allows readers to both sympathize and laugh with Finn. The hardships that Finn endures, both physically and mentally, make it impossible not to root for him as he goes along his journey towards self-discovery.
Using a fast-paced writing style, Smith does an exceptional job at depicting his characters’ thoughts. He captures raw adolescent emotions and shows an oftentimes hidden teenage perseverance which many readers can relate to and admire.
Throughout the story, Smith wants the reader to see life through the character’s eyes. For instance, Finn views time passing in miles rather than minutes. While these nuances are overdone and dramatic at times, they ultimately add to the insights in the novel.
Smith’s powerful and effective voice is exhibited throughout the pages as he describes the complexity of Finn’s world. He pushes the reader to feel a range of emotions as we are allowed a first-hand glimpse into Finn’s unbreakable spirit. The book is by no means a calm ride; it manages to make the reader laugh, cry and empathize with Finn at every turn. Through this story, Finn learns that his condition cannot and will not be what people will remember him by. His determination to live as if it were the last seconds of his life is admirable
“100 Sideways Miles” is an exhilarating, thought-provoking and inspirational book that sends readers on an unforgettable life lesson that creates a truly interesting and absorbing read. Smith’s masterful storytelling and expert teenage mind reading abilities make every last page in “100 Sideways Miles” worth traveling for.