Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Schwa effect

Welcome, welcome, all! I hope you are having a great day. I've been loving the weather here in South Jersey over the last few days. I'm looking forward to the weekend, even though it means I have to work! *WARNING* Some semi-minor spoilers in this review. This Week's book is called "The Schwa was here." By Neal Shusterman. (Yes, Neal with an 'A') It's an "Antsy Bonano" (the main character of our story) Novel. It's the first one that I've ever read, but knowing there are more, is really exciting, and I'll have to go look for them. I was given this book to read by my aunt. It was on her school kids' Summer reading list, and as she travels a lot, she likes having a book to take along and fill the time. She and I often talk about books that we've read, and exchange or suggest them. She gave me this one, insisting I'd like it, on her last visit. I'm SO glad she did! I enjoyed it 100%. The basic genra is Young Adult, but it's not one of those dark, moppy, "ehhh life is so hard when you're 14, wahhh" kinda books. On the contrary. While it delt with some grown up, more interpersonal issues, it maintained a light hearted feel through most of the book that was very refreshing. It's set in Brooklyn, I'm not sure exactly when, but recently enough that they talk about cell phones. Anthoney, (or as those near and dear call him, Antsy) Bonano is a smart, sarcastic kid, with a kind heart, and THE BEST sence of humor. He is the midle of three kids, with one older brother, and a younger sister. His dad works for a plastic company, and his mom takes care of the home front. His best friends are Howard Bogerton and Ira Goldfarb, a basic genius and a future film director, respectively. They are the kind of kids you would know from school, or from your neighboorhood. Just average kids, making it in a big city. They spend time playing video games, and on occasion testing plastic wears for Antsy's dad. During one such test, involving a manikin name Mr. Bullpucky, Antsy and his pals have first contact with "THE SCHWA." Calvin Schwa is a kid from their school who has the incredible power of being (not becoming) practically invisible. He scares Antsy and the boys at first, but eventually they are overcome with curiosity about just how deep this invisibility power goes that they start testing it out. They have the Schwa do crazy things like go into a class room with a bunch of other people, then have someone else go in and count heads. Almost every time, the counter skip over him. Eventually they do bigger, things like have him go sit in the teachers lounge for a couple hours, or stand in the hallway with a bright orange sombrero, singing at the top of his lungs! And the results are almost all the same- barely anyone notices, and those who do, only have a vague memory of him. (if it even was a him.) The Schwa has power! Then, another boy from their class puts down a bet for Antsy and the Schwa (by this time, Antsy has appointed himself the Schwa's manager). He bets that the Schwa can't sneak up to old man Crawly's apartment, get into the house a steal a bowl from one of his 14 Afghan dogs, without getting caught. Old man Crawly owns the restaurant that is downstairs of his apartment. He is not to be trifled with. Once, when he was upset about an incident involving tomatoes, he had all tomato shipment stopped to Brooklyn for two weeks! The stakes are high, but so is the glory if the Schwa can pull it off. So they go for it! And fail. When they are caught by old man Crawly they have a choice of having the police called and get hauled away (according to Crawly) or they can do "community service" assigned by the man him self. They chose the latter, and set them-selves for some hard trials ahead. Through this time, Antsy learns that there is much more to this man that has terrified the neighborhood kids for so long. He also gets to know more about Calvin Schwa, and his dim past. Alright, so that was kind of a long summery, but It's really such a small part of the story! I REALLY REALLY loved this book! The characters were fun, and smart, and sarcastic as all get out! Antsy is such a great kid. He loves his family, though he has no problem letting you know about their quirks. He stands up for what he thinks is right. He doesn't take crap from anyone, but likes keeping peace where he can.He's very insiteful and really thinks about how his actions effect those around him...most of the time. He is a well written, well developed character. All the characters are developed well. I enjoy a book where you can see change in the characters (good or bad) and you absolutely can here. When there are minor characters, you know they won't be around long, but in the short span you meet them, you see exactly who they are, and the part they are going to play. Even with the silliness of the schwa experiments, the book is very realistic, and has some great consequences, and morals. I can't say that there was anything I really found fault with, except maybe that there were a couple, well developed, characters that I would have liked to spent more time with (there I go making friends with fictional people again!) I would give one warning about the way it's written. It will give any English major a headache. Since it's told from a 14 year old brooklynite's perspective, the tenses, and really just about all the grammar are rather askew...or better yet...non existent. But I (the daughter of an English teacher) thought it was quite charming, and effective to the character of Antsy. I VERY HIGHLY recommend it. It is a quick read, and will get you laughing from the first page! It gets a genuine 5 on my rating! Well, Thanks once again for stopping by! Enjoy your weekend, and I'll see you next week with some more words of love! Manda

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