Review: Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy
Review: Learning to Swear in America
by Katie Kennedy
Learning to Swear in America was a treat! I really didn’t know much going into this one, it wasn’t on my radar when I went to BEA 2016 but I snagged a copy and it was just a really enjoyable read! Check out the book details and my review below.
Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: July 5th, 2016; Bloomsbury
Brimming with humor and one-of-a-kind characters, this end-of-the world novel will grab hold of Andrew Smith and Rainbow Rowell fans.
An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize–if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri’s 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.
Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe.
“You’re refusing to teach me to swear” He was indignant.
“Language is stupid, anyways. I mean, what makes a word bad?
In math, number is right or wrong, but never good or bad.”
My first impression was that I was laughing out loud at this book, but should I be? I wasn’t sure if Yuri, the Russian boy genius, and his fish out of water persona was a joke or what? I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or not. Well as I kept reading I realized that even if it offends some people, I truly found this book to be an endearing and hilarious read.
Yuri, a physics prodigy, university graduate, and at 17, is currently working on grand theories of antimatter. He is brought to JPL, to work with NASA to help save the world from an approaching asteroid. Or at least reducing the threat of total annihilation to maybe just wiping out the entire US and interrupting life as we know it. So no real pressure here…
On Yuri’s first day he is drawn to a compelling, bright shining star of a girl – and immediately befriends Dovie. Dovie takes it as her mission to help Yuri loosen up and live life to its fullest for whatever time they have left together. Dovie just has a pure magnetic personality. Yuri finds himself constantly thinking of her and how he can save this beautiful person from the impending doom.
Now, you might think this book is chock full of science and physics, but honestly it isn’t. There is enough fun quips and science references, but nothing too intense or hard to understand. Katie Kennedy explains what we need to know, but underneath it all this is a book about a fish out of water, and how he constantly muffs up, due to the barriers of his culture and language.
Really this book is about self discovery and determining what really is important in life. Having goals of winning a Nobel prize is a wonderful achievement, but what he didn’t know was that life still needs to be lived. Through Dovie, and her brother Lennon, Yuri learns a lot of America that isn’t just typical MTV stereotypes. I think Yuri realizes that saving a beautiful soul like Dovie is way more important that focusing on his troubles back home in regards to his research and Nobel prizes. Because what if the asteroid hits? Nobel prizes sure as hell won’t matter anymore.
Learning to Swear in America is a wonderful, entertaining, and fun read. I loved the messages, action, and pure hilarity that ensues. I highly recommend this book as it really is full of just perfect insight of what teens deal with, no matter where you hail from. Surprisingly, the swearing isn’t the main focus of this book, but the title does convey the need to overcome the hurdles of culture. 4 solid, falling from the sky, stars!