Please Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.
Synopsis (From GoodReads):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.
Review:I've been thinking a lot, lately, about what it takes for a book to reach "five stars" with me. Is it the story or the characters, or something else? For me, a book must have a wonderful story and memorable characters but it must also pull me in to the book and get me emotionally involved. Learning To Swear In America, by Katie Kennedy, did just that! I loved it.
Story:A boy genius from Russia is called in to work with a team of older scientists to try and find a way to stop a meteor from crashing in to Southern California. I loved how Yuri (the main character) had trouble with his teammates. This 17 year-old has to work with men in their 60's. No one is taking him seriously. I mean, he's just a kid, right? But he has gotten where he is, not just by brains, but by working hard. This means he has never been able to act like a teenager. By chance, Yuri meets up with a teen named Dovie, who he finds an instant connection with. Dovie, along with her brother Lennon, make it their goal to show Yuri how to be a teen. The results are sweet and hilarious. I felt for this young person who didn't quite fit into either world.
Characters:As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but think of who would be a good choice for a movie version. Sadly, the one person who I think would have been so good in this role passed away last week due to a freak accident.
Anton Yelchin would have been so perfect as Yuri.
So as I read this book, I naturally pictured Anton in my head. I'm so sad that he passed (and in such a needless way). It appears his car rolled backwards and pinned him to his mailbox. He was a rising star...
I loved the characters of Yuri (trying desperately to fit in with his colleagues and other teens), Dovie (just trying to get through high school), and Lennon (trying to get others to see beyond his wheelchair). All three has so much to contribute to the world, but were also in need of each other.
Emotional Involvement:As I said earlier, in order for me to award a book 5 stars, I need to get emotionally attached as I read it. This book worked it's charm on me. I was rooting for Yuri to succeed, for Dovie to understand that life gets better after high school, and for Lennon to overcome his depression.
With all three characters, the common thread was that each wanted to control their own destiny. I think that problem is shared among many teens. Older adults scoff at their issues, underestimating, (and undervaluing) what they are capable of. We expect 17 year-olds to make major life decisions such as going to college, but don't trust that they have common sense. It's a huge moment in a person's life when they stop listening to their parents, and start owning their decisions.
I hope many people will find this book and come to appreciate what any person can do. This book is delightful, funny, and suspenseful. It's the kind of book you can immerse yourself in, and feel contented when it ends.
Format: ARC E-book
Release Date: July 5th, 2016
Recommendation: A suspenseful book with a sweet story. I think people will love it.