For some reason I am really feeling juvenile fiction this summer. Just something about kids' books and summer that makes me all nostalgic, even though most of the books I read as a kid during the summer were Goosebumps
. I still remember trading them amongst kids at school like they were Pogs. Oh, man, Pogs...
Anyway, this book is a really perfect summer-in-middle-school book. It features a weird kid and his weird friend, but the great part is throughout the book you realize that everyone in this kid's neighborhood is as weird or even weirder than him. It is great. It is a book that makes grownups actual people. Each adult in this story has their own beliefs and their own outlook, which comes to light as the main character Jeremy Fink asks them about the meaning of life. From a famous scientist to a boardwalk preacher, they all answer differently, really demonstrating how everyone's opinion is different, and how everyone must reach their own truth.
The main driving force behind the story, which is a box Jeremy receives the summer he is due to turn 13, is a clever device but the ending makes it all a little bit contrived. It's a nice ending that wraps up a lot of questions, but it left me unsatisfied. However, I really enjoyed the journey to the end of this book. Yes, some of it comes off as the author trying to impart Big Life Lessons to the kids reading it, but that was not a problem for me because I liked the characters and the setting so much.
There are a lot of little details that go into making this book good (such as Jeremy and his friend's difficulty with public transportation, Jeremy's love of candy, and other small things). What a great summer read.