The Low Down: Cricket Cherpin isn’t the kind of guy who starts fights, but he sure will finish them. The oldest kid living at the Naskeag Home for Boys, he looks out for the younger ones and steps in when they need help. Unfortunately, his bad attitude and any return volleys in the punching department don’t help foster a great relationship with either the school principal or Mother Mary, the nun who runs the home. After eight long years, you’d think they’d get it by now: he’s not going to break down and cry on their shoulders like some weepy girl, no matter what. His past is his past, and it’s going to stay there. He’s got vodka, a joint and his simmering anger to keep him warm at night. Though he wishes it were Wynona Bidaban.
What kind of future is there for a guy like Cricket? Does he even have one? He’s just a pain-in-the-ass waste of space, right? He could just say sayonara right now and save everyone a lot of trouble . But what would the little guys at the Home think about that? Who would tell them their stories and stand up for them at school?
Sometimes, though, all you need is a change of scenery to see things from a different perspective, to have a little hope. It doesn’t hurt that Wynona is the cause of some of that change. Maybe that adjustment will be all it takes for Cricket to finally believe that life still sucks occasionally, but it can be wonderful as well. And he deserves it.
Opinions? Yeah, I Got Some: Cricket is the kind of guy that you don’t know whether to stomp away from or force into a motherly hug. Though the story didn’t hold many surprises, the manner in which it was written was either going to make you love or hate the main character, and in a hurry. He’s a closed-off entity with a foul mouth and even fouler thoughts. He’s irreverent, obscene, raunchy and indecent. He has a hard shell on the outside with a gooey marshmallow center, though there is a layer of rusty nails and scar tissue in between.
A great book for anyone who likes to have their redemption flavored by salty tears and served with an extra-large helping of filter-free smartass.
The Bottom Line: Be ready for a rollercoaster of a story; sometimes you’ll be screaming with your hands in the air; sometimes, you’ll be cringing on the floor. Either way, it’s a good ride.
Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden was published today by Harcourt Children’s Books. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to Scott Blagden and the Harcourt Children’s Books for my ARC.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Underage drinking and drug use; profanity; frank discussions
Harcourt Children’s Books Website (an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Twitter: @HMHKids and @HMHBooks