Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin

Thank goodness for Michelle, the YA librarian at my local library. She ordered this book, you see, and I'm very glad she did because I completely enjoyed reading it. I laughed aloud in many places, and I cringed (oh how I cringed) at others - not so much at the horrible muddle that resulted when Hank (a teen musician with Asperger's) spilled a terrifically embarrassing secret of Liana's (a teen scientist with a bit of a reputation) in public, but definitely at other places - most of them involving Liana's conduct, really.

I won't say more about what caused me to cringe, since it would be terrifically spoilery of me, but I will say that I am shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you! - that I hadn't heard about this book before I scooped it off the "New Releases" shelf in the YA department.

The chapters alternate between Liana's and Hank's perspective (starting and ending with Liana, actually), but I'll be darned if I can say for certain that they were written that way, since Hank sounds just like Hank and Liana sounds just like Liana regardless of which of them is the narrator (although, of course, you get the benefit of insight and thoughts and emotions when you're in a particular person's head).

The book is full of musical detail - in part because music (and the sort of trivia found in liner notes and such) is a big deal for Hank - and full of space-related science information too, since Liana is taking a summer AP course in Advanced Planetary Science, trying to discover why it is that stars twinkle. From the moment that Hank bursts into the Ladies Room, Hank and Liana have an interesting dynamic to their relationship - one that shifts and changes as they spend more time together and start sharing their secrets, and one that affects how they interact with their families at home, too.

Have you read it yet? If not, I'd encourage you to have a look at it.


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