Monday, December 9, 2013

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything
by J.J. Johnson
320 pages; ages 12 - 16
Peachtree Publishers, 2012

Oy! I have been carrying this book around in my bookbag far too long. Because I love it. Because it's a book that is honest. Because ... how can you resist a book with a pie chart on the back cover that claims "this book contains 20% snark, 9% bizarre coincidences, 3% random musings and 7% manual labor at a Christmas tree farm". I think that's the thing that got me to open the covers - the working at a Christmas tree farm. Because my kids have planted them, and trimmed them, and watched them grow (or, in other years, be eaten by deer).

This is a story of Sarah who lost her best friend, Jamie, in a freak accident. But that was a year ago and now it's time to get back to normal, right? After all, grieving is a process and there's seven steps and by the time a year's passed, one should be finished.

But not Sarah. Her grades are plummeting; her relationships have gone sour; her voice has been replaced by a "snark box". Until ... she reaches out to Jamie's twin brother who just might be the only person to really understand what she's lost. Sarah also finds answers while working on a Christmas tree farm... because sometimes, the best way to find your way back to yourself is through sweat and blisters.

The story itself is good enough reason to crack open this book. But what makes it fun are the Venn diagrams and line graphs and flow charts and bar graphs and timelines - they open up a different window through which to view relationships. Not to mention it gives you some ideas for the next time your math teacher tells you to graph something.

Review copy provided by publisher.

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