Monday, February 9, 2015

Gloria O'Brien's History of the Future: By A.S. King/100 Sideways Miles: By Andrew Smith




Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities--but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she's never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person's infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions--and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women's rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she'll do anything to make sure this one doesn't come to pass.

Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved.

Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.

I have been on an existential YA kick recently. Of the books I’ve read I have particularly loved A. S. King’s Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future and Andrew Smith’s 100 Sideways Miles.

First, I’d like to say that I am a huge fan of A. S. King and Andrew Smith, these writers are absolutely superb. They have written absolutely spellbinding works of fiction such as Winger, Reality Boy, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, as well as many others, that manage to simultaneously defy any normal writing style and thought pattern while at the same time play on such key and fundamental emotions that readers will think it is their world and experiences that these amazing writers are describing.

Glory O’Brien tells the story of a girl who learns how to finally reach past the fear, sadness, and loneliness that she lives in after her mother’s suicide, while 100 Sideways Miles tells the story of a boy with epilepsy, describing in beautiful and heart wrenching detail his struggles, his first love, and his fears.

One of the things I loved so much about both of these books was the incredibly relatable and potent protagonists. These protagonists spoke/thought with such profound truth and raw emotion that it was impossible to not be left in awe of them.

These novels focus on a piece of these protagonists lives, the story does not end with these books, it is merely finished telling the tale, finishing in a way that will leave readers both yearning for more while at the same time finding these beautiful vignettes of life positively radiant.

All in all, these authors are absolutely sensational. Their prose are superb, their characters both unique and relatable (I still don’t know how that can be but they manage it), and the stories they tell are both captivating and mesmerizing. I can’t praise these books and their authors highly enough and I implore you if you are looking for something spectacular to read to go out and give Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future and 100 Sideways Miles a chance.

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