BookBrowse Reviews 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

100 Sideways Miles

by Andrew Smith

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith X
100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2014, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2015, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Finn Easton makes sense of the world through miles, not minutes. Travel with him on the road trip that teaches him to write his own destiny in 100 Sideways Miles.

Sixteen-year-old Finn Easton has a lot to live up to. He's the son of a novelist whose bestselling novel, a controversial science fiction book called The Lazarus Door, features a protagonist also named Finn Easton. Both Finns - the one in real life and the human-eating alien of fiction - have heterochromatic (i.e., two different colored) eyes and distinctive scars on their backs. Is it any wonder that Finn sometimes feels like he's trapped in the pages of his dad's book, unable to shape his own destiny?

What Finn doesn't realize - but readers immediately do - is that he's a pretty singular character. He's got a unique outlook on the world, one that he would probably blame on the fact that his mother was killed by a dead horse falling from a truck on an overpass, in the same accident that left Finn with that scar as well as a tendency toward epileptic seizures that frequently leave him angry and at an uncharacteristic loss for words. An experience like that has got to change a guy's point of view. But Finn also has some other quirks, particularly the ability and inclination to think of time in terms of distance, namely the distance the Earth travels around the sun (about twenty miles per second, if you're counting). And finally, Finn is an endlessly patient best friend to Cade Hernandez, the kind of guy who mounts class pranks of epic proportions, drives parents crazy, and may just be aggravating enough to give a beleaguered teacher an aneurysm.

Finn lives in a strange place, the San Francisquito Canyon in southern California, site of a massive civil engineering failure (see Beyond the Book) that left dozens of people dead in the 1920s. He finds himself thinking about the history of that place all the time, wondering if those doomed power plant workers felt as trapped by circumstances as he does. But Finn is soon distracted by a newcomer to town, Julia Bishop, a girl brave enough to look into his heterochromatic eyes and understand his fears about finding his own story. Over the course of the eventful summer before senior year, a camping trip turns into a prison break-in, a college visit turns into an opportunity for heroism, and Finn's story starts seeming less like someone else's and more like entirely his own.

100 Sideways Miles, with its quirky mix of past and present, physics and history, will remind some readers of Louis Sachar's Holes - except with a lot raunchier language. In previous novels like Winger and Grasshopper Jungle, Andrew Smith has demonstrated - often to hilarious effect - that he totally gets the mind of the adolescent male. Here, as in his previous books, he also shows that for teenage guys, vulnerability and bravado go hand-in-hand, that friendships and father-son relationships don't have to be treacly to be real and vital, and that buying condoms may, in fact, be simultaneously the most embarrassing and hilarious rite of passage that a young man ever has to undertake, at least if Cade Hernandez is involved. At times, Smith's narrative feels off-kilter and disorienting - kind of like one of Finn's seizures - but in the end, it's clear that he's been in complete control all along, as the novel comes full circle in a model of supremely satisfying storytelling.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl

This review was originally published in September 2014, and has been updated for the September 2015 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Kinship of Secrets
    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim
    Of our 20 First Impressions readers who submitted reviews for The Kinship of Secrets, all rated it ...
  • Book Jacket: Empire of Sand
    Empire of Sand
    by Tasha Suri
    Tasha Suri's debut novel, Empire of Sand, reads like something out of 1001 Arabian Nights, both ...
  • Book Jacket: In Byron's Wake
    In Byron's Wake
    by Miranda Seymour
    It's tempting to think that our age of celebrity worship coupled with the 24-hour news cycle is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Latecomers
    The Latecomers
    by Helen Klein Ross
    The Latecomers is the third novel written by acclaimed author Helen Klein Ross, following What Was ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Force of Nature
by Jane Harper

As atmospheric, tense, and explosive as her New York Times bestselling debut, The Dry!

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    At the Wolf's Table
    by Rosella Postorino

    The internationally bestselling novel about the women conscripted to be Hitler's food tasters.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts

To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts

"Caitlin Hamilton Summie is our modern Chekhov."
- Savvy Verse & Wit

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Everything I H-D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.