Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Review: The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff


The Absolute Value of -1 (Carolrhoda Ya) 
The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publish Date: September 1, 2010
Hardcover, 296 pages
Young Adult



My Review:
Why I read this:  It sounded interesting, simple as that.


How is the novel driven: It's all about the characters - this is the story of Noah, Lily and Simon who are friends in some ways and yet not friends in others and it's told from each of their points of view, so it's all character.


My thoughts: I couldn't write my review of this one right after I finished it.  I admit I don't write most of my reviews right after I finish the book, but with this one I needed to think about the book for awhile.  Why?  Because it is so real that it made me stop and think.  Yes there are a lot of YA books out there that look at teenagers just like they are, but there are just as many that aren't completely real.  Neither one is better than the other, but when a book like this comes along, it just makes me think.

Told from the point of view of three apparent friends, Lily, Noah and Simon,  you get each ones' views on the friendship, their own life and that of their friends.  Lily's life is in a downward spiral, one she freely admits at the beginning she could have stopped.  Noah's life is at the bottom and has been for awhile.  Simon, he's somewhere in-between and until his story is told (and his is told last) you aren't really sure where Simon is.  It's an interesting contrast of a book, showing the story from all sides.  Showing how what one person sees can be different from what actually is.  I found the book fascinating.  It was hard to put down and hard to read at the same time.  Hard to read because of the harshness of these kids' lives.  It's all there in black and white and this isn't a happy story, but it is a worthwhile story.

I finished The Absolute Value of -1 almost 3 weeks ago but it has stuck with me.  If you like a serious YA novel from time-to-time or all the time, I highly recommend this one.  I enjoyed this book and it will continue to stay with me and hopefully make me aware as my sons become teenagers of things going on in their lives.  Steve Brezenoff writes an amazing story and does a great job getting into the heads of these three teenagers and keeping the book moving along for the readers' enjoyment.


My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

The absolute value of any number, positive or negative, is its distance from zero. So what's the absolute value of a friendship? Of love? Just how far apart are we, anyway?

Lily: "For three years, I'd been trying to hold on to Simon and pull him up against me. He was a bar of soap in the shower, though: slippery as hell, and one false move¯squeeze a little too tight¯and he's gone. And picking up a wet bar of soap in the shower is pretty difficult."

Noah: "Lily has these big brown eyes. It sounds corny, but they totally get me. They make my stomach and heart flip five times a piece. So I looked away quickly, because I have a tendency to kind of stare at her if I don't catch myself. It's been like that forever."

Simon: "I never thought much would change with Lily being my girlfriend. I mean, she and Noah were the only people I hung out with much anyway, so now I'd be kissing her and fondling her and she'd be kissing me and fondling me. Not much of a difference, really."


About the Author:
Steve Brezenoff has written several chapter books for young readers, and The Absolute Value of -1 is his first novel for teens. Though Steve grew up in a suburb on Long Island, he now lives with his wife, their son, and their terrier, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

His Website
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Trailer for The Absolute Value of -1


FTC Information: I received this book through 1-ARC Tours for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

4 comments:

brizmus said...

It's been a long time since I read a really serious YA. Being into math, I love the title of this one! :-)
Thanks for the review - I'll check this out!

samantha.1020 said...

This sounds like a really interesting read. I don't read a ton of YA but I'm always looking for good YA reads as some of my favorite books are young adult. Great review!

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Becky said...

I will have to check out "The Absolute Value of - 1".... I am always on the prowl for a new great books to read, especially if they are YA. Another great YA book that is about friendship, trials and love, is Mitch Davies' latest book titled, "A Wind In Montana." It has a fabulous story plot, but what I love most about the book is that it is a story that shows examples of dealing with responsibility.

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