I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Grendel's Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Humorous, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets Revenge of the Nerds in this tale of a teen misfit who seeks to take down the bro next door, but ends up falling for his enemy’s sister and uncovering difficult truths about his family in the process.
Tom Grendel lives a quiet life—writing in his notebooks, mowing lawns for his elderly neighbors, and pining for Willow, a girl next door who rejects the “manic-pixie-dream” label. But when Willow’s brother, Rex (the bro-iest bro ever to don a jockstrap), starts throwing wild parties, the idyllic senior citizens’ community where they live is transformed into a war zone. Tom is rightfully pissed—his dad is an Iraq vet, and the noise from the parties triggers his PTSD—so he comes up with a plan to end the parties for good. But of course, it’s not that simple.
One retaliation leads to another, and things quickly escalate out of control, driving Tom and Willow apart, even as the parties continue unabated. Add to that an angsty existential crisis born of selectively reading his sister’s Philosophy 101 coursework, a botched break-in at an artisanal pig farm, and ten years of unresolved baggage stemming from his mother’s death…and the question isn’t so much whether Tom Grendel will win the day and get the girl, but whether he’ll survive intact.
For some reason while I was reading this book, it didn’t dawn on me that this is a retelling of Beowulf. I know, I know… The name Grendel is right there in the title, but it totally bypassed my mind until I read the author’s note at the end.
I really enjoyed this book. Poor Tom is just trying to keep things normal for his dad, who suffers from PTSD. But his new neighbors don’t know how to stop partying. And his neighbors have no regard for anyone else in the neighborhood.
Tom, his friend, and his sister pull as many stunts as they possibly can to get them to stop with their shenanigans. But nothing seems to work, and the pranks the neighbors pull just keep getting bigger and bigger.
The book was funny, lighthearted at times, and heavy in some areas. It talks about not only Tom, but also family, friendships, and that one person you can’t get out of your head.
You’ll laugh, shake your head at the pranks, and smile. There’s pretty much nothing more you could ask for in a book. This would be a great summer read.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: