Sunday, June 17, 2012

Arty -- As Easy As Falling Off the Face Of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins

(Hey, guys!  Sorry about the lack of review last week - busyness... and Persy's jaunted off to Ireland again, so you have to put up with me for two more Saturdays after this.  Or, y'know, Sundays.  Mondays.  Whenever my brain tells me to remember.

Anyway.  Onto the review.)

It's not that hard to fall off the face of the earth.  That's what fourteen-year-old Ry finds out when he misses his train to camp, his phone dies, and he finds himself stuck out in the middle of nowhere.  In the middle of nowhere, with nowhere to go, and no way to get in contact with his parents (who are on their own vacation around the world).

You can get anywhere with the help of some good friends, though.  Or, in Ry's case, one really, really good friend.

Del, a strange but compassionate man who finds Ry wandering around town with a single shoe, is one such friend.

And thus begins a convoluted tale of finding home and finding yourself.

Like my attempt at being dramatic and poetic and stuff?  Yeah, neither did I.  Onto the actual review.

The thing about Falling is that I don't usually like stuff like this - realistic fiction.  No elves or spaceships or special powers or anything, just regular people doing some regular stuff.  Except that Falling isn't realistic fiction.  It's not regular people doing regular stuff.  It's like... I don't even know how to explain it.  No magic?  No.  No magic?  I dunno, because this is such an unlikely, utterly fun story that sometimes I think there might be magic involved.

If there is, Del is the main purveyor.  Del is such a fun character.  Kind of old, kind of young; kind of insane, kind of overly sane; kind of selfless, kind of selfish.  Kind of a study in contrasts.  By the time the book ended, I was totally in love with him.  He goes to ridiculous lengths to help Ry, a kid he barely knows, and it doesn't feel... fake.  It feels like what he would do.  Del is just the best mentor/ally/combination of both ever.  Well, not ever, but in a book like this.

And Ry!  Ry is adorable!  He's always just kind of along for the ride, but then his voice is so... cute.  He's whatever but not apathetic.  It's like he doesn't really mind... it doesn't really get to him.  He's a very calm guy without being annoyingly zen and mature.  I want to hug him.  And then there's Lloyd, Ry's grandfather, who is almost as adorable as Ry.  And then the dog cartoons, which were pretty much squeal-worthy.  Adorable dogs.

The style, too, is adorable.  It's quirky - take Lemony Snicket's hilarious and playful word art, Wendelin Van Draanen's wry observational tone, and a sprinkling of Jonathan Stroud for the awesome author's interjections and footnotes.  Van Draanen and Stroud, two of my favorite authors - of course it'll be awesome!

There are some plot holes to be found.  Some characters that were introduced, made likable, and then discarded for the rest of the book.  And the end was pretty abrupt.  I was expecting that - most books like this have tough endings, and this, I can imagine, was tougher than usual.  Maybe it didn't take away too much because I was expecting it, but either way, it wasn't too grating - not as grating as it could be.

So, if you need a break from your typical YA stuff about intense love and the world's possible end, or if you just need a nice relaxing beach read for the summer, take a break for As Easy As Falling Off The Face Of The Earth.  It's just so much fun.

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