As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynn Rae Perkins

I’ve been hearing a lot about this one- all good things- for months now.  I finally ordered it when school ended and I have to say, all those good things were warranted!  As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth is one for the ages.  Kid appeal?  Check!  Distinguished writing?  Check!  Fun almost comic-like illustrations sprinkle throughout the book?  Check plus!  I’m telling you- this is a book for everyone.

In As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth, sixteen-year old Ryan has been having a bad string of luck.  Seriously- every last thing that could go wrong has been going wrong.  He was supposed to spend the summer at camp while his parents sailed the Caribbean and put the spark back in their marriage.  Instead, camp is cancelled and he doesn’t open the cancellation notice until he is on the train.  Then the train leaves him behind when he steps off for some fresh air.  He is in the middle of nowhere (ok, he is in Minnesota, but still…).  He soon loses a shoe, his phone charger, and all contact with his grandfather back home.  His poor grandfather ends up hurt and can’t remember where he is.  His parents are blown off course.  And life continues to go wrong from there.

This one knocked me off my feet.  The story is perfection- who hasn’t had one of those days or weeks where every single thing that can go wrong, does?  And while a summary of the story might sound fantastical, it doesn’t read that way.  Each event plays off those before it and they are completely believable.  Cell phone batteries die, plans change, bankrupt companies are becoming more and more common, Facebook is a way to chat without really talking to someone, and nice people do exist.  Ryan’s situation gets more and more complicated in realistic situations that teens will see as a part of their own lives.  (Maybe not all in a few weeks’ span, like Ryan, but still…)

And the writing! My god, it’s like poetry.  This is full of distinguished writing and I can not wait to share it with my new high schoolers. However, it is also perfect for middle school readers.  I think this one will be on the shortlist for awards season this winter, and rightfully so.  It’s just one of those perfect books that has kid appeal and distinguished writing.  Those don’t come around too often, so pick this one up as soon as you can!

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