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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2011
Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. His first young adult novel, Jerk, California, received the ALA Schneider Award. When hes not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids.
The revelation that every time a new Martin is born into his family another one kicks the bucket stuns, bums and ultimately lights a rocket under 13-year-old Martin Boyle. Friesen presents his earnest narrator as a lad sounder the influence of his fanatically safety-conscious mother that he flies into a panic at any encounter with nature (Theyre only trees. Theyre only ugly trees. Theyre only ugly, boy-hating trees. Theyre only ugly, boy-hating, hungry---) and wears a portable air bag on the school bus. The discovery of matching birth and death dates for all the Martins in the Boyle family cemetery sends Martin into a tailspin, but with help from a sturdy supporting cast he pulls out and firmly resolves to grab life with both hands while finding a way to break the curse, if he can, in the few months remaining to him until his Aunt Jennys due date. These helpers notably include Poole, a young vagrant with a relentlessly sunny outlook, and classmate Julia, to whom Martin fears to speak until she takes his developing story about the adventures of a White Knight and his Lady Love and creates gorgeous illustrations. Spiced with plenty of slapstick, the yarn speeds its protagonist through a succession of highs, lows and improbable triumphs on the way to a hilariously melodramatic finish. (Adventure. 11-13)
Jill WilliamsonOregonAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Turned out to be a lot of laugh-out-loud funSeptember 9, 2011Jill WilliamsonOregonAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3First I (Jill) must say, that I bought this book strictly because of the book trailer. I thought it was awesome. And I showed it to my son, Luke. After he watched it, he nodded at me, and I ordered the book. So, here is the trailer, for your viewing pleasure:
Martin Boyle lives a crazy life. His mother is a germaphobe and his father is never homeÃ¢â¬âalways off reenacting Civil War battles, his best friend is trying to steal the girl he likes, and on top of all that_ Martin is cursed. In a graveyard of his ancestors, he discovers this horrible truth. When one Martin is born, the previous Martin dies. And Martin's aunt is about to give birth to a boy, who, according to family tradition, will be named Martin.
I read this book aloud to my son, and we had a really hard time understanding what was going on at first. There were several places where Luke stopped my reading to asked a question. He was confused as to what had happened. So I read back to see what we had misunderstood. It was mostly the mom's character that had us puzzled. Once we realized that she was a germaphobeÃ¢â¬âand a beyond crazy oneÃ¢â¬âthings made a lot more sense. It would have been wise to have Martin think about her crazy, germaphobic tendencies in the first few pages, but maybe it was just us.
About halfway through the book, it took off and we were hooked. We loved Poole. Once that guy came into the story, it was hysterical. Lani was also a fun character. And the idea of living each day as if it were the last, being yourself, and looking for joy in every moment made this a really powerful story. It turned out to be a lot of laugh-out-loud fun for both of us.