It all started with a paperback book...
Nanette is the kind of student and child every parent would love to have. She will be getting a full ride scholarship for soccer, has decent grades, and doesn't party. But sometimes maintaining perfection is just waiting to break and all it takes is a catalyst. In Nanette's case, it was the book The Bubblegum Reaper.
The story is a novel about love, bullies, secret conversations, prom, and a turtle named Unproductive Ted. But what intrigues Nanette the most is the open ending, which is driving her crazy. She finds out the author doesn't live far from the high school, so one day she decides to visit him.
Booker meets Nanette for the first time and tells her point blank he doesn't want to discuss the book. He feels the novel is a part of his past, and one that he'd rather not go back to in memory or action. Having only been published in paperback, Booker yanked publication after one year and that was that. Now, Nanette has two very serious problems...the question about what happens to the main character and why Booker seems to not like his own novel.
One good thing does come out of it. Booker decides it's time for Nanette to meet Alex. Alex has been writing Booker for quite awhile after reading his book, and Booker believes the two would make the perfect match. On the evening they meet, Nanette and Alex go right into long conversations about the book, but not really substantial relationally. But with time, things change.
Alex and Nanette's relationship begins to change in many different ways. She meets Oliver for the first time. Alex and Oliver have a symbiotic relationship. Oliver has a friend, and Alex keeps Oliver safe from bullies. But Nanette sees something dangerous in Alex, which comes to a full head where her feelings become reality and Alex is sent away.
Alex isn't the only one that's changed either. Nanette is confused, and not sure who she is or what she wants to do either. She quits soccer, so her scholarship chances dry up, and throws caution to the wind by cursing at her parents and partying with her old friends. She doesn't know if she should be the happy one or make others around her happy....and her life falls apart.
A story within a story. Young people and old people. Bullies and saviors. This novel is a mix of opposites, which is the essence of what makes it so good. Matthew Quick delivers yet another novel that spans readers from young adult to adult. The parallels the characters draw from the book and the path it leads them down is the hook that the reader will relish, as well as the personal mysteries that may never be solved. This book may well become the partner of the paperback in this novel, where there is truth to be found and wisdom that needs to be highlighted.
978-0316379595 Ages 15 and up (Grades 10 and up) 270 pages
Read alikes: Books by John Green; Books by Stephen Chbosky; How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford;
Recommended by: Naomi Bates, Librarian, Texas USA
See more of her recommendations: ht