Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Learning to Swear in America

Monday, June 20, 2016

Just Finished Reading ... Learning to Swear in America

Learning to Swear in America
by Katie Kennedy

To be published on July 5, 2016
by Bloomsbury Kids

Source: ARC sent by publisher for review

Summary from Goodreads: An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize--if there's ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri's 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he's not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

My take: There were things I really enjoyed about this book, and others I wasn't crazy about.

Starting with the positive, Learning to Swear in America is a fish out of water tale. I adore those kinds of stories and thought this aspect of the story was charming. Yuri, a seventeen year-old science genius, is brought to the US from Russia to help save the world from an asteroid. He's put up in a hotel in Pasadena, and when he's not in the lab, kind of wanders around in a daze like the character in Lost In Translation.  That part of the book I liked a lot.

I also liked the fact that this was an unexpected sort-of pre apocalyptic story. Believe it or not, this book is at least the fourth recent YA book I can think of that featured an asteroid on a collision course with earth. (Remember We All Looked Up, Tumble and Fall, and Life as We Knew It?)

There were aspects of Learning to Swear in America that were smart and funny and quirky in a way that made me happy. (A math teacher who makes his students feed a hamster to a snake if they get a math problem wrong??!! That's so wrong that it's right.) But, like so many quirky books, this for me went a bit too far at times. The story featured a romance I wasn't crazy about at all. I mean, yes, I understand that a main point of the book is that Yuri is book-smart but not life-smart, and that he needs to learn how to shut off his brain, act his age, and have fun. But ... hello?  The entire fate of the world is at also stake and he's sneaking out to hook up with some random girl. But, hey, glad he's getting some action while the rest of the world prepares to die.

Dovie, Yuri's love interest, was a bit too Manic Pixie Dream Girl for my taste. That may not be her fault: her family was also very heavy on the quirk, with hippie throwback parents that seemed to have arrived straight from the 1960s in Austin Powers' time machine and a brother in a wheelchair named Lennon (at least it wasn't Lenin...)

Those issues aside, I did find Learning to Swear in America an unexpected and enjoyable read. If you like books that are on the quirky side, you should definitely give this a try!

13 comments:

  1. This book sounds really interesting and the whole premise is something I would love! Really helpful review :)

    http://jennys-words.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! It was different, which I really liked.

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  2. There are SO many books on this topic!!! I haven't had the best of luck with them either so I'll skip it.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Weird, right? Is there a risk of an asteroid strike that I'm unaware of?

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  3. I'm a fan of the type of character like Yuri: an adorable brainiac. :D

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    1. Then I highly recommend this for you!!

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  4. Ha, the asteroid theme is getting quite overdone - but my attention was immediately caught by that title! Glad you enjoyed!

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    1. It really is! Maybe just a coincidence. Love a good fish out of water story!

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  5. The smart and quirky parts sounds great, sorry there were elements that weren't so hot though

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  6. LOL! I love quirky to a certain extent. I'm not entirely sure about this one yet. Great review!

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  7. Maybe the romance wasn't really something that was interesting for you, but I like the idea of the mix in cultures and Yuri feeling out of place as he is thrust into this new country in order to save earth.

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  8. I wasn't sure I wanted to read this one, because... I'll be honest: I don't like the title. But it sounds like a cute read, so I think I might give it a chance!

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  9. Really looking forward to reading this book!

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