Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review: Dear Life, You Suck, by Scott Blagden @sblagden

Dear Life, You Suck is a contemporary issues novel that ended up tugging at my heart. This book sneaked up and grabbed me. I wasn't all that enthused by the description, or even the beginning, but I quickly became enthralled.

Cricket Cherpin's life really does suck, in a lot of ways. He's lived in a group home (for orphans) that is run by nuns. He's lived there for many years, and is the oldest resident. He will soon turn 18, and has no plans for the future.

Cricket is a good kid in many ways. He's a hard worker, willing to help with the grounds keeping,  the cooking, and even the mending. He also has a strong protective instinct for the younger kids at the home. This is what tends to get him in trouble.

Cricket is a fighter. He never starts a fight, but if he sees bullying, he will not tolerate it, and will come to the victim's rescue the only way he knows how -- by using violence. Sister Mary (who Cricket gives at least 25 different names throughout the story) will not give up on Cricket. She constantly comes to bat for him where the school is concerned.

Cricket is a complex character. He doesn't fit in a hole -- which makes his journey all the more interesting. He has many problems, stemming from a horrible childhood with his drug addict parents, but you can't help but root for him. Additionally, his outlook on his life and his situation will have you in stitches. The names he uses, the malapropisms, the analogies will have you re-reading to make sure you catch it all. There are references to movies and books -- and I'm sure I didn't get some of them.

I don't know where Blagden gets his "teen voice," but it's unique and creative. However, this is also a reason for caution. I'm not sure a reluctant reader would be able to handle Dear Life, You Suck, because of Cricket's complex narration. It's such a good story for boys, though, that I might be wrong. I can't wait to find out.

We find out about Cricket's horrible past by letters he is writing for a school assignment -- reasons his life sucks. These letters, like all of Cricket's musings, are entertaining and make the revelations a  bit more tolerable.

So I said Dear Life, You Suck tugged at my heart, and it did. There's a possible romance for Cricket, and some hope for his future. It's not all "happily ever after" -- that would be unrealistic. But I liked the possibilities that were put forth, and I'm still thinking about Cricket even after finishing the book. (Always a good sign.)

Dear Life, You Suck is a great one for those teens who like edgy, "issues" novels. This one adds plenty of humor and moves at a quick pace, which makes it appropriate for many. It does involved some drug use and drinking, so keep that in mind when recommending it to younger teens.

Published by Harcourt, March 26, 2013
ARC obtained from Library Media Connection for review
306 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. This sounds really good and the complex narration would actually be something I'd really like I think! I'm not much for slang or juvenile narrations so. I hadn't heard of this before it looks really good!

  2. Great review, thank you. I've just added this to our latest Follett order!

  3. This one is on my list to read this year for a Debut Author Challenge. I'm glad to know you liked it. I look forward to reading it! :)

  4. Sounds like a great book. Can't wait to read it. Great review.


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