Friday, July 30, 2010

Last December by Matt Beam

Things are easy for Steven. His mom is pregnant; her boyfriend took off. They don't have much money - not even enough to play Ms. Pac-Man at the local donut shop. He didn't make the high school hockey team. He's not sure what he's doing with his life. Then he meets Byron, a guy who shows him how Ms. Pac-Man can help explain the mysteries of the universe, and nothing really seems the same. Following in Byron's advice, Steve starts writing a letter to his unborn sibling (he calls her Sam in his mind) that reflects Byron's "balls-to-the-wall" style.

I really liked that I had no idea where this book was going. I couldn't guess how much distance Steven had from what he was writing. At one part Steven starts thinking about his dad (he died when Steven was young) and how much better it was that he didn't know his dad, and maybe his sister would be better off if she didn't know her brother. At that part I started thinking maybe it was a suicide note, and things started seeming pretty dark. The historical aspect of the novel comes through (it's set in the early 80s), but it doesn't hit you over the head; I was a number of pages in before I even realized it. This novel is an interesting look into a guy's mind as he starts feeling more and more untethered in his own life.

Find it on IndieBound.

Read it with:
The Knife that Killed Me by Anthony McGowan
Deadline by Chris Crutcher
Party by Tom Leveen
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne M. LaFleur
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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