Excerpt from 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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100 Sideways Miles

by Andrew Smith

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith X
100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2014, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2015, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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About this Book

Print Excerpt


You can't make history come alive. History is deader than Laika the space dog. And I'll admit it—nobody in my class ever learned anything from Mr. Nossik's living displays. Are you kidding me? This was eleventh grade. Shit like that stopped working on our brains around the same time the training wheels came off our bicycles.

Besides, Mr. Nossik's so-called "living history" often pushed things a little too far. One time last March, he dressed up as a battered drowning victim to commemorate the catastrophic fail¬ure of the St. Francis Dam.

History lives, it dies, and it comes alive again as the soaking-wet, mangled, and bloodied corpse of a Mexican ranch hand.

My mother was a Jew, which technically makes me a Jew. Only a few people know that about me because on the surface I am an atheist; and with a name like Finn Easton, who would guess I'd feel a bit edgy around a forty-five-year-old freak who liked to role-play genocidal war criminals?

I am named after the Mark Twain character, by the way.

I am not named after the Finn in my father's book; I swear.

So: My best friend, Cade Hernandez, who always sat next to me unless Mr. Nossik kicked him out of class or assigned him a back-row desk facing away from the lectern (just because Mr. Nossik frequently couldn't stand looking at Cade), raised his hand and asked our Nazi leader this: "Mr. Nossik, why do I always get a boner in this class, at exactly eight-fifteen, every morning? This is ridiculous!"

Kids laughed.

I laughed.

Who wouldn't laugh at a boy who asked a Nazi a question about getting an erection?

Besides, Cade Hernandez was our de facto commander in the Stop Trying to Make Us Stop revolution, our act of defiance against the quit missions. Cade Hernandez ran the school. He could get anyone to do anything he wanted. Cade Hernandez was magic or something.

Mr. Nossik's face reddened, which, in the aesthetic arrange¬ment of things, matched the color scheme of his outfit perfectly.

Let me tell you something else about Cade Hernandez: As the school's de facto commander in the Stop Trying to Make Us Stop revolution, he was an expert button pusher. The moment any authority figure challenged Cade's control over things, the game was on.

Mr. Nossik despised Cade Hernandez as deeply as anyone could ever hate another person. It was only a matter of time until Mr. Nossik came up with some type of Quit Being Cade Hernandez mission.

To be honest, all us kids in the class loved to see the two of them square off. Cade routinely won. At least once a week, Mr. Nossik would tell Cade that he couldn't stand looking at him anymore, so he'd order Cade to the back of the room, as far away from Mr. Nossik's desk as possible.

And Cade frequently wasn't doing anything to justify his banishment.

But Cade Hernandez did have a way of just staring and staring—without blinking—calmly showing the faintest trace of a smile on his face as though he were saying, Come on, fucker, let's see who wins today.

That was it.

Cade stared and stared and smiled and smiled.

And that was how he looked at Mr. Nossik on May 7, Nazi Day, when Cade Hernandez, in as straightforward and sincere a voice as you could ever imagine, asked our Gestapo kommissar teacher why he got a boner during history class at the same time every morning.

This was Cade Hernandez, a kid whose lower-body blood flow apparently had tidal predictability.

Mr. Nossik, his voice quavering as though he'd just swallowed a fistful of feathers and sand, stamped his jackbooted foot and told Cade to GET OUT of the classroom immediately.

Man! The only thing that could possibly have made Mr. Nossik look more like Hitler at that moment would have been a toothbrush swath of black hair on his upper lip.

Excerpted from 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith. Copyright © 2014 by Andrew Smith. Excerpted by permission of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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