As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth
As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth
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Annotation: A teenaged boy encounters one comedic calamity after another when his train strands him in the middle of nowhere, and everything comes down to luck.
Catalog Number: #600062297
Format: Ebook
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Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: c2010
Pages: 384
Territory: North America
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: 0-06-200140-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-200140-5
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
It's easy to fall off the face of the Earth, as the affable 15-year-old Ry discovers when he misses his camp-bound train somewhere in Montana. <p>It's easy to fall off the face of the Earth, as the affable 15-year-old Ry discovers when he misses his camp-bound train somewhere in Montana. It wouldn't be so traumatic if his parents weren't adrift in the Caribbean, his grandpa in Wisconsin hadn't plunged into a sinkhole and all potentially helpful cell phones weren't either dead, out of range or stolen by a green-hued jungle monkey. Ry's efforts to get somewhere from the middle of nowhere form the core of this poetic, ebullient odyssey, Perkins's first novel since her Newbery-winning <i>Criss Cross </i>(2005). Three tales in three-plus locales (and the occasional dog-centric comic strip) weave a playfully inventive, even suspenseful narrative peppered with colorful characters and close calls. Details of, say, a cactus lamp or a fly's flight are vividly and often humorously described in a fresh, intimate, mostly third-person voice, frequently interrupted with almost conversational attempts to clarify and refine observations. A long, immensely enjoyable, curiously comforting ramble through an absurd-but-benign world, tellingly filed by the Library of Congress under "Adventure and adventurers--Fiction," "Accidents--Fiction" and "Luck--Fiction." <i>(Fiction. 12 & up)</p>
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up&12; This is a story of one misfortune after another. As the book opens, Ry, a 16-year-old Wisconsin resident en route to camp, is left behind in Middle-of-Nowhere, MT, as his stalled train pulls out and he recounts the events that led him to leave the train in the first place. Bad goes to worse: he loses a shoe and his phone charger, his grandfather back home is injured, and his parents are having their own misadventures in the Caribbean. A superhero of a fix-it guy named Del helps Ry to put his life back together. Along the way, readers learn that there is more to Del than initially meets the eye. The story is told in a traditional, episodic style, bouncing from one calamity to the next. The narration occasionally switches perspective to include the grandfather&9;s tale of woe as well as well-drawn graphic-style portrayals of the family dogs&9; mishaps. The style is reminiscent of Chris Crutcher&9;s, and the action is evocative of Gary Paulsen, but the freewheeling prose, quirky humor, and subtle life lessons are all Perkins&9;s own. This novel is not going to be every teen boy&9;s cup of tea, but its charms are undeniable.&12; Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly
When 16-year-old Ry discovers that his archeological summer camp has been canceled, he steps off the train to call his grandfather only to see the train pull away. So begins Ry's implausible and existential journey at the center of Newbery Award%E2%80%93winner Perkins's (Criss Cross) contemplative and energetic novel. To compound the situation, Ry's grandfather has suffered a concussion and is missing, and his parents' Caribbean sailing trip has been fraught with problems. Ry stumbles into Del, a handy, sympathetic man who decides to drive Ry home to Wisconsin, becoming a quirky mentor. Del remains unflappable as he extends their road trip to find Ry's parents, setting off a series of riotous misadventures. A humorous additional narrative, ""Dogs,"" told in comic strip format, mimics Del's and Ry's story, and continues Perkins's experimentation with form. Her observations and turns of phrase (""The shoes were a metaphor for the decline of western civilization: crappy and glitzy and barely useful, but pretty comfortable.... Ry didn't think that thought specifically, but he felt as dispirited as if he had"") are as unexpected and delightful as the travels she weaves together. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (May)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Sixteen-year-old Ry opens a letter en route to a summer program informing him that camp has been canceled because "a statistically improbable number of things have gone wrong." He hops off the train in Montana to figure out what to do, and his own series of improbable misfortunes begins e train moves on without him (but with all his stuff), leaving him alone with a dying cell phone in the precise middle of nowhere. Oh, and one of his shoes just floated off down a river. He befriends a man named Del, who figures there's nothing he can't fix (when it comes to other people's problems, anyway). They set off on a cross-country road trip to get Ry back home and then, due to any number of minor and major catastrophes, to an island in the Caribbean. Ever-placid Del and milquetoast Ry make for affable traveling companions, but the real pleasure is Perkins' relentlessly entertaining writing. She dabbles just on the clever side of intruding on the narrative, and she infuses her prose with more personality than many could squeeze out of an entire cast. The knock against her Newbery-winning Criss Cross (2006) was a lack of plot, and although a lot of things happen here, it would be a stretch to call this leisurely novel plot-driven. The point is that it doesn't matter, and wallowing in the wry humor, small but potent truths, and cheerful implausibility is an absolute delight.
Word Count: 61,463
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.0 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 137460 / grade: Middle Grades+

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He'll get there.

Won't he?

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