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Friday, October 1, 2010

Adios, Nirvana - Conrad Wesselhoeft (Teen Fiction)
















Released October 25, 2010

www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com

After his brother's death, Jonathan's struggled to keep his sanity. He's gone from being an award-winning poet and talented guitarist to a kid that rarely goes to school, loathes his mom's attempted intervention and can't stand living. His friends and his principal refuse to let him slip away so easily.

To save his education, Jonathan is asked to pen former journalist and WWII veteran David O.H. Cosgrove II's memoir. Jonathan's a mixed-up kid and he's not sure he's ready, emotionally or physically, to spend his day talking to an elderly man trapped in a facility where death is his only destination.

"She senses me leaving forever. And I am. I'll never come back. Not to this place, where death and spinach and piss sit side by side on your dinner tray."

At heart, Adios, Nirvana is everything I'd hoped The Catcher in the Rye would be. As a teen and even as an adult, I never understood why people raved over Holden Caufield's story. He whines, he seems to have a limited vocabulary repeating certain terms over and over again. I'd always wished Holden could tell his story without being so obnoxious. In a nutshell, I think Conrad Wesselhoeft's debut novel is brilliant.

Conrad Wesselhoeft fixes everything I ever hated about Holden in that classic coming-of-age story. Adios, Nirvana is fresh, it's impossible not to feel sympathy for Jonathan and I find myself really wanting to keep reading to see if he can successfully battle his demons. Laced with details into things teens are exposed to on a regular basis--drinking, suicidal thoughts, depression and music, most of all the music--I really loved every minute of Jonathan's coming-of-age tale.

Poetry is woven into the story. It would be silly not to incorporate poems as they are the heart and soul of Jonathan. Teens who loathe poems will likely discover that poetry isn't so bad. This isn't the flowery poetry that teachers forced you to read. They're gritty and often dark, painting vivid images of a depressed teen's mind.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to look that book up. The very title is grabbing.

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