It's Leonard's birthday, and no one knows it. So today, he has some presents he's giving away to everyone who's made an impact on his life. One is to Linda, his mother, who is never home and takes care of her life more than her son's. Another is for Walt, an elderly neighbor in love with cigarettes and Humphrey Bogart and quite possibly is Leonard's best friend.
He also has a present for the most brilliant violinist Leonard's ever heard, an Iranian student named Baback, who allows Leonard in when he practices. He plans on giving one to Lauren, the girl who stole his heart while handing out religious tracts near the subway.
Herr Silverman, Leonard's favorite teacher who stymies him with the reason why he dresses the way he does and is the one encourager in his life, will also get a present But it's Asher Beal, Leonard's once best friend, who will get the biggest and baddest present...he deserves it for how he treats Leonard every day at school. It's what's in those presents, both bad and good, reflecting why Leonard is making this his last day on earth.
Matthew Quick writes a powerful novel of the conflicting mind ofteenager with brilliance, bringing into light his main character's life through various literary devices, including verse, letters from a dystopian future, and footnotes giving insight into Leonard's psyche which runs deeper than anyone could possibly imagine. This is a MUST read! Highly recommended for high school. Hatchette, 2013 (on YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults; TAYSHAS list, 2014)
Recommended by: Naomi Bates, Librarian, Texas USA