Thursday, March 27, 2014
By: Aurora Zahni
Release Date: February 20th, 2014
An imperfect, unremarkable girl makes a hero's journey. Ellie Stanton needed to have a good day. The universe had something else in store. Getting caught shoplifting. Check. Dumping her lame boyfriend. Check. Expulsion from school. Check. Getting kicked out of her house and then stealing her mother's car while she's in a New Jersey turnpike rest stop Cinnabon? Check. The only sensible option is to run as fast as she can and never look back. Now Ellie is running going cross country to raise a little hell and maybe along the way learn everything she needs to know about life.
"Why, oh why do you have to turn everyu confrontation with an authority figure into World War Four?
"Wait, you want to know, essentially, why I can't deal?" Hillary nodded emphatically, and Ellie continued. "Oh, that's easy peezy. We can all thankMrs. Richards."
"Who the hell is Mrs. Richards? Hilary asked.
"My Kindergarden teacher, I will never forgive or forget that bitch."
"Why? What did she do?"
"I'm glad you asked. See, the first day of school, Mrs. Richard gave us a note to give to our parents, letting them know that they were responsible for their own kids snacks and drinks." A security guard and two Chickentown employees joined the audience. " So, Tammy, that's my mom's name for those of you who are new to the show here, she reads the first part of the notebut not the second. That would be the part which gives examples of what appropriate healthy snacks and drinks are recommended. The word 'healthy' was underlined and in bold print. You can see where this is going, right? She motioned toward Hilary, who smiled and nodded. "So, Mommy dearest stops off at the Quick Chek on the way to school and grabs me a Mountain Dew and Twinkies." There was a collective groan from the peanut gallery. Hilary used the pause in the story to take some orders before allowing Elli to go on. "Anyway, snakc time rolls around, I open my Lion King Lunch box and start digging in. Bitch Richards sees my Twinkies and comes flying at me like a hawk. She screams at me, throws away my twinkies and then walks me around the room pointing out examples of healthy snacks."
"You're kidding me" Hilary laughed, picturing little Ellie being tortured by this teacher.
"I would not kid you about snacks. It was like five fill minutes of 'See, Ellie, that's a banana. Banana's are an example of a healthy snack' Finally I snapped."
"What did you do?"
"I cried and smashed my lunch box against the chalk board. When Mrs. Richard said she was calling my mom, I called her a big green bitch." the entire congregation in the restaurant giggled at once.
"Why is that so funny? What the hell does that even mean?"
"I dunno. She was standing next to a Statue of Liberty poster. It didn't make sense, but it was a very effective insult. That was the first class I was ever kicked out of, and I've been an pain in the collective ass of the world ever since."
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a bit slow at the beginning and I struggled to figure out who was who and what all the relationships were, but after a few chapters it really started to flow and I got into the adventure of what Ellie was doing.
I think Ellie is incredibly easy to relate to, in that at some point everyone hates their parents and thinks about just getting in the car and making a run for it. Most of us just fume and think about doing it. Ellie grabs the keys and actually does it. That was kind of the moment in the book where I realized that this was going to get really good. There are a lot of curse words in this book (as evidenced in the excerpt above) and that would give me pause in terms of who I would recommend this book to, however, I thought it was very realistic. I work in a middle school and the things I hear kids say fall right in line with Ellie and her vocabulary. Is it ideally the way we want kids to talk? No. Is it how they do talk? Yes. Heck, it's pretty much how I talked too when I was in school!
Since this is a newer release I'm going to refrain from posting anything spoilery, but suffice it to say that this is a really good story about one girl who is taking her life in her own hands and having a huge adventure along the way.
Stay tuned tomorrow for an interview with author Aurora Zahni!
Posted by Kate E. at 12:26 PM