Friday, April 06, 2018

How You Ruined My Life

36388635Strand, Jeff. How You Ruined My Life
April 1st 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Rodney's father left, so he and his mother struggle to get by. When his well-to-do aunt and uncle decide to take a three months' long cruise, his cousin Blake is sent to go to high school with him. It's bad enough that Rod has to share his tiny room with his cousin, but when Blake finally arrives, it is with a ton of stuff and an attitude that Rod should be his servant. Rod, who is very busy with his band, Fanged Grapefruit as well as his girlfriend, Audrey, isn't pleased. As Blake does more an more sneaky things to Rod, he also tries to ingratiate himself with all of Rod's friends, to the point where Blake throws animals guts in his own face so he can blame it on Rod! On the other hand, he gets some awesome gigs for the band, but he also turns Audrey against Rod. His head spinning, Rod isn't sure what his cousin's evil plan is, only that it is evil, and he must find some way to stop him, even if it is by sort-of kidnapping him and attempting to drive him across the country! Will the cousins ever be able to make peace?
Strengths: This was VERY funny. I was reading it on the plane coming back from ALA Midwinter, and laughed so much that I ended up reading a lot of it to my travel companion! This wins absolute first place for lists of rock band names. The plot was amusing, moved quickly, and was just a lot of fun. I especially appreciated that the main character was a high school junior, but there wasn't anything inappropriate. It's so hard to find books like this for my more mature readers. Very nice balance.
Weaknesses: Younger readers might be a little confused by what Blake is doing. I have had to explain the concept of "gaslighting" to teachers, so students might not understand what Blake is trying to accomplish, other than being annoying.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing a copy, and a bit miffed that it's in paperback! Follett does have a prebind available.
Ms. Yingling

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