Review: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Posted December 15, 2014 by Amber in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

100 Sideways MilesTitle:  100 Sideways Miles
Author: Andrew Smith
Published: September 2nd, 2014 (Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 277
Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Social Situations, Coming of Age, Identity, Road Trips
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: Two stars
Goodreads Summary:
Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved.

Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.

Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: I love how unique this cover is.
First Line: Look: I do not know where I actually came from.
~First Thoughts~
That first sentence is definitely eye catching and makes me want to read more. I love the backstory Finn immediately gives in the beginning. It almost feels like he’s telling his own story.
My relationship with 100 Sideways Miles is a bit of a complicated one. It was requited, then unrequited, then requited again. On one hand, I really liked certain aspects of the book, on the other hand, I was a little annoyed by other aspects of it. Going into 100 Sideways Miles, I think I had a different expectation than what I read, which is probably my fault.
I saw some definite similarities between 100 Sideways Miles and An Abundance of Katherines and Looking For Alaska by John Green. Namely the characters, the writing style, the plot and the dialogue.
I love the title and the reason for the title. I thought it was really unique. Finn is a teenager with a scar on his back, heterochromia tridum and suffers from epilepsy. Oh and he’s also the main character in his father’s book, The Lazarus Door.
I always love when fiction plays a big part into a book and Smith definitely adds that in with The Lazarus Door. Finn is forever trapped inside it which is about another boy named Finn, with a scar on his back and Heterochromia Iridum, different colored eyes who may be from outer space. I thought it was interesting how despite the outer space theme in Finn’s father’  book, how into space Finn was. I love how Finn’s father wrote him into the book because in a way, he immortalized him.
I thought Finn’s feelings about the book were definitely spot on. He was upset about the book being about him. Anyone who read the book and knew Finn could connect the dots and realize it was about him. I liked seeing Finn deal with his identity inside and outside of the book. When Julia creates a shadow play for Finn, he’s left asking her the ending to it thinking it will help him figure out his own. Finn’s identity crisis was well written and I could relate to his feelings as he wondered who he really was.
I liked reading about Finn’s relationship with Cade, his best friend. They came across as best friends well enough, but I still wish there had been a little more under the surface. Cade Hernandez just gave me an all around Hassan feel from An Abundance of Katherines, which isn’t exactly a good thing. I didn’t think Cade had much development.
One of the things I loved about 100 Sideways Miles is the space talk Finn did. I loved how he always mentioned how many miles away something was. I’m fascinated by the universe so these sentences definitely made the book a bit more enjoyable for me. Finn also has a dog named Laika who’s named after the dog who went into outer space.
Speaking of Julia, there is one huge thing that really bothered me with Smith’s writing for her and that would be her backstory. Considering her backstory and her and Finn’s relationship, I didn’t find it very believable and wasn’t exactly comfortable with it. I didn’t feel Julia had much depth even though I liked her a little bit.
I didn’t care for all of the sexual talk the book contained. There was a lot of mentions about erections and such. Seeing as it is about teenage guys, I can understand. I wish there wasn’t so much of it and that it didn’t occur so often. It seemed to play into the “all guys want and think about is sex” stereotype. It was definitely a bit vulgar for me.
100 Sideways Miles is definitely well written, quirky and contains a good coming of age story, but I wasn’t crazy about it. Finn’s whining got on my nerves throughout the book, I sort of preferred the parts where he was quiet and introspective with space talk and his feelings, like in the first few chapters. I feel the tragic past may have been a little overkill because all I can think about is Perks of Being A Wallflower and how writers seem to use a tragic past as a “buffer” of sorts. While it worked well in Perks, I can’t really say the same for 100 Sideways Miles, I liked it enough but I didn’t love it.
Rating 100 Sideways Miles is really hard to do. While I disliked the majority of the 100 Sideways Miles, there were aspects and the ending that made it worth the read. The ending was definitely excellent, fast paced and unexpected.  I thought 100 Sideways Miles contained more flaws than positives in it for me. Due to this, I rate it with two stars.
~Final Thoughts~
I wish I would have liked 100 Sideways Miles a bit more than I did. I also wish I had seen more character development.
~Recommended For~
Fans of John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines and Looking For Alaska
Fans of quirky writing
~Memorable Quotes~
“I thought about words – like words in books – and how just saying them made things real.” 
“Sometimes books imitate life. And sometimes books imitate lives that imitate books.” 
“I am not the only one who sometimes thinks I came from the pages of a book my father wrote. 
“Life goes on. Twenty miles per second.”
“Here is what I believe: Distance is more important than time.”

Posted December 15, 2014 by Amber in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

2 responses to “Review: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

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