Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Absolute Value of -1 Review

Author: Steve Brezenoff
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Pages: 300 (E-ARC)
Publisher: Carolrhoda
Most Appropriate For Ages: 14+
Where I Got It: For review from Netgalley

The absolute value of any number, positive or negative, is its distance from zero: |-1| = 1

Noah, Lily, and Simon have been a trio forever. But as they enter high school, their relationships shift and their world starts to fall apart. Privately, each is dealing with a family crisis—divorce, abuse, and a parent's illness. Yet as they try to escape the pain and reach out for the connections they once counted on, they slip—like soap in a shower. Noah’s got it bad for Lily, but he knows too well Lily sees only Simon. Simon is indifferent, suddenly inscrutable to his friends. All stand alone in their heartache and grief.

In his luminous YA novel, Steve Brezenoff explores the changing value of relationships as the characters realize that the distances between them are far greater than they knew.
Going into The Absolute Value of -1, I had no idea what to expect. I just knew I'd heard it was good and it was about three friends. Aside from that, I had no real idea what it was even about. Luckily, it didn't matter because I ended up liking it anyway.

-1 is told in three parts, each with a different narrator that each had a different and (really) authentic voice. Going into a part, I would dislike a character...until I read their narration. All three characters are each so confused and abandoned and how could anyone not end up liking them?

So, in all honestly, the plot was a tad thin. It was very character-driven. Did I care? Um, NO. From page one the writing and characters hooked me and then kept me reading until 2:30 AM reading, trying to figure out how it ended.

And when I read how it ended, I was pissed! There was no ending! It was just...done! Argh! And I don't think there will be a sequel. (Though if there was a sequel I would definitely read it.)

Overall, The Absolute Value of -1 was a fascinating and wonderfully written novel about family, friends, choices, love, life, growing up, and--what I found to be a very cool aspect of it--how people perceive people and things differently than others. It wasn't perfect, no, but it was still pretty awesome.

Book Report:
Plot: Kinda thin.
Characters: Awesome! I would've liked more Noah...
Writing: Preeeetty amazing.
Kid friendly? There's a lot of swearing, talk of sex and masturbation, and heavy pot and cigarette smoking.
Should I read it? I don't think some people will like it, but I did.

1 comment:

  1. The title seems really cool. And the concept. Glad you enjoyed it, even if there were some bits you didn't like.


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