in the path of falling objects: the sandwich book
There’s no prison worse than “I promise.”
A promise can carry you through tough times.
Or cause them.
Jonah and Simon, two abandoned brothers, set out to rendezvous with a third brother coming back from Vietnam. The only guarantee they have of meeting up with him is in his letters.
The boys hitch a ride on the highway with Mitch and Lilly. As the story unspools they figure out that Mitch is a psychopath. Lilly’s a flirt. She likes to push Mitch’s buttons.
Jonah tries to keep the promise he made to his older brother, to keep Simon safe. Like all little brothers, Simon doesn’t like getting bossed around. Mitch encourages Simon’s minor rebellions, coaxes them into bitter hatred for Jonah. Who would blame Jonah if he just walked away?
Well, there’s that promise.
Andrew Smith’s second book is gut-punching good. Each chapter is labeled with the character whose point of view it’s written in. Not necessary. Because every character’s voice is so distinct you can tell them apart without a scorecard. The attention to setting puts you right in the desert southwest without getting artsy-fartsy. And the Vietnam letters have heart-breaking historically accurate touches.
Andrew writes really fast. His third book came out last November: The Marbury Lens. It has been named one of the Best Children’s Fiction Books of 2010 by Publisher’s Weekly, and is on the ALA Best Books for Young Adults list 2010, just like his other two books. And he’s got more in the pipeline.
I’m kind of afraid Andrew’s second book, In the Path of Falling Objects might have been overlooked because it was sandwiched between book one and three, way close to The Marbury Lens release date.
DO NOT MISS IT.
That is an order.