Sunday, October 12, 2008

Neal Shusterman. ANTSY DOES TIME

Another sequel. I didn’t plan it this way – really. But this is a sequel you could totally read by itself, without the first book*.

You gotta love a book that begins with a parade float that, well,... floats away. Antsy and a few of his friends see the beginning of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade debacle on TV. So, they hop on the subway to watch in person. The giant cartoon raccoon has blown away, along with three balloon handlers hanging on. The float finally gets caught up in the Empire State Building. Shortly after watching the events unfold right in front of his eyes, Antsy, hears some news from an unusual classmate, Gunnar. Gunnar tells Antsy that he has an incurable disease and will die in the coming months. After an act of kindness gets out of hand, Antsy begins to really help Gunnar with his last few months and get a quite a bit of attention for it. But as Antsy gets to know Gunnar and his family, he finds out that circumstances are really more serious than he thought. Plus, he has his own family drama. Antsy’s father now owns a restaurant, which is great, except that it keeps him so busy that Antsy hardly ever seems him. When he does see him, Antsy ends up screwing up and making him mad. He’s from a family of “fixers,” but he wonders how he can fix all of these dramas.
This was a quirky, funny, sad, heart-warming and wonderful. I marked so many great spots that I wanted to quote here, but if I did that, I would have to practically copy the whole book here, which is illegal. The events are really unexpected, but I think what I like best in this book is the cast of characters. They are so distinctive and lovable in their own ways. The dialogue between Antsy and his friends is right on. The curmudgeon Mr. Crawley is perfectly mean, but awesome. Kjerston is understandable in her desire to “reclaim her youth,” at sixteen. Even the minor character Skaterdud made me smile in his perfectness. Great! Loved it! Read it! (yes, that's Skaterdud not Skaterdude - read the book)

*You should still read the first one, though.

Click here to read my review.

A tidbit for ya...
Notice on the cover how the author's last name is different on each book. The first one has the "e" in his last name upside down. In the sequel, he has the "e" printed like this ë. Both relate to the story in the book. But, can you imagine how that conversation went with his publishers: "yeah, I'd like to turn the "e" upside down in my last name, yeah- right on the cover of the book. I know this will perplex people. Just do it."