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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Print Excerpt

I think the stories were probably true, given the color of Cade's hair, his blue eyes, and the paleness of his skin. It probably was also a compelling reason behind Cade's messing with Mr. Nossik in class that morning of the Nazi display.

Cade Hernandez and I had been friends since I was ten years old. That's a lot of miles traveled together—about six billion.

We met in elementary school. Cade Hernandez was my first real friend. His family lived in Burnt Mill Creek, and when I enrolled in grade five, my family, which consisted at that time of my father and pregnant stepmother, had just moved to San Francisquito Canyon.

It wasn't until the summer before eighth grade that I told Cade Hernandez about the dead horse in the sky. I believe he naturally assumed Tracy, my stepmother, was my actual mother. After all, I called her Mom.

That was the day Cade leaned over toward me, so close our shoulders touched, and he said, "Holy shit, Finn. Your eyes are different colors."

I said, "They call that heterochromatism."

"Fucking cool."

At that time I also said to him, "Not only that, but I am a Jew."

I remember the day perfectly. We sat in the hot tub beside my backyard swimming pool. It was summer vacation. I had had a particularly bad seizure the day before. I'd pissed myself. Cade didn't know about it, but sometimes, afterward, I felt like I wanted to die. Sitting there in just a bathing suit, not really thinking about anything, Cade became curious about the emoti¬con scar along my spine. So I told him my back had been broken when a dead horse fell out of the sky and killed my mother.

I told him about knackeries, and about being a Jew.

Cade answered, "What the hell does that mean?"

"Well," I said, "my real mother was a Jew. That makes me a Jew."

"What goes along with being a Jew?" Cade asked me. "Secret handshakes?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. I'm not a real Jew or anything. I don't even believe in God to begin with."

"You're going to all kinds of hell, Finn," Cade said.

"No. I'm pretty sure my atoms will just be scattered out there like everyone else's."

"That's scary," Cade said.

"Well, I just wanted to tell you, in case you decide to hate me for being a Jew," I said.

I had been wondering about this ever since Cade told me the stories about his Nazi-breeding-camp great-grandfather.

"You're fucking dumb," Cade said.

That was how eighth-grade boys told each other everything was okay.

And then Cade Hernandez said, "The tracks left in the snow by a horse with a ridiculously big hard-on."

I said, "What?"

"That's what that shit on your back looks like, Finn. If a horse with a really big boner left tracks in snow, 'cause you're so fucking white. It's fucking awesome."

So, on Mr. Nossik's Nazi Day, we had lunch at Flat Face Pizza. Cade and I ate there at least twice a week because the food was free for us.

Cade Hernandez worked in the kitchen and delivered pizza for Flat Face Pizza. The sign above the business, which was one of the dozen or so boxes of storefronts along Old Mill Boulevard, was an enormous, perfectly round pizza with a grinning face painted on it.


It looked like it had been done by a six-year-old.

Cade Hernandez's nickname was Win-Win.

He got that nickname at the start of our junior year at Burnt Mill Creek. A senior girl, an exchange student from Germany named Monica Fassbinder, had a peculiar attraction to Cade Hernandez. Monica Fassbinder would pay Cade five dollars every time he'd allow her to give him a hand job at school, in the shed where the night custodian parked his electric golf cart.

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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