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
    Sep 2015, 304 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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About this Book

Print Excerpt

And Cade, all innocence and self-pity, said, "Can I wait a couple minutes before I stand up, please, Mr. Nossik? Seriously, this thing is ridiculous!"

We all laughed again.

And Mr. Nossik—in a voice reminiscent of the most fiery Nuremberg Rally oratory—stamped and shrieked, "GET! OUT!"

So Cade Hernandez, smiling slightly, completely unashamed, stood and walked across the room to wait outside the door while the quaking Mr. Nossik composed himself.

Of course, everyone looked to see if Cade really did have a boner.

I'm not saying.

And Mr. Nossik, our Gestapo kommissar, didn't actually have a stroke that morning, but I believe some crucial arteries and shit inside vital parts of his body got dangerously close to their bursting point every time Cade Hernandez put pressure on Mr. Nossik's hair-trigger nerves.

Cade Hernandez and I both played baseball for the Burnt Mill Creek High School Pioneers baseball team.

O Pioneers!

Cade was our pitcher—a lefty who'd been scouted by the majors, extremely talented—and I played the outfield, usually right. I would not want to play a position like pitcher, where there is such a high likelihood of making costly mistakes.

Costly mistakes, like sexual confusion and nuclear weapons, which by the way are both legacies passed down from the greatest generation—the guys who whipped Hitler—are strongly related to extinction.

Who wants that?

Cade's nickname was Win-Win, but it had nothing to do with his record as a starter. I will explain later, since I wanted this part of the story to be about me: Finn Easton.

Here is what I believe: Distance is more important than time. The earth travels about twenty miles every second.

It's easy enough to figure out: , our distance from the sun, three hundred sixty-five days, and there you go.

Twenty miles per second.

In the same amount of time it takes Cade Hernandez to drive us from my house in San Francisquito Canyon to the town of Burnt Mill Creek and our school, Planet Earth carries us about eighteen thousand miles from the exact spot where we were when we started out. It's equivalent to driving three-fourths of the way around the world at the equator.

Think about it: That's quite a commute to get to school just to see some withered old man dressed up as Charles Lindbergh or Betsy Ross.

Oh, yeah: Mr. Nossik was never afraid of cross-dressing.

Cade picks me up every day because I am not allowed to drive. I have seizures and blank out sometimes. I call it "blanking out" because things don't get "black," like some people might say. When a seizure comes on, to be honest, everything looks especially beautiful.

I don't have them too often, and I am told there is a good chance that I will grow out of the condition.

I believe I will miss it.

My seizures always begin the same way: I smell flowers. Then all the words empty out of my head, and everything is just there: a chaotic jumble of patternless, nameless clusters of atoms.


My condition is a souvenir from the day a dead horse fell out of the sky and landed on me and my mother.

I was born on the anniversary of the first-ever atom bomb explosion on Planet Earth.

A gift from the greatest generation—the guys who saved the world!

July 16.

Some of those atoms—when set free in 1945 into the atmo¬sphere above the New Mexico desert—found their way into me: my hands, my head, and my heart.

My atoms have been on this Finn trip for almost eleven billion miles.

Just about every individual atom in the universe, every last bit of the stuff that builds me, is nearly fourteen billion years old. Think of that distance: fourteen billion times all those hundreds of millions of miles.

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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