Motorcycles, Sushi and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue
Published: May 4, 2010 by Zondervan
Get the book: Amazon
Normal? While family dinners and vacations to touristy destinations are ordinary events for her ‘normal’ friends, fifteen-year-old Jessie Hatcher’s normal life means dealing with her ADHD and her mother’s bipolar disorder.So why is Jessie shocked when the unexpected happens? Now her ‘normal’ includes living in Florida with the father she always thought was dead and learning the secrets of sushi from a man who teaches by tormenting her. Life isn’t any saner with her dad, but a cute guy and a mysterious book might just be the crazy Jessie needs.
Design – Rule 29 Photo – Graham Heywood Rating – 4/5
I like this cover because it’s so simple and it drew me to the book. The color scheme and the simple white pattern are nice, but I don’t like the random leaves in the pattern. If they were bamboo leaves, or something sushi related it would make sense for the book. The font is nice because it’s simple as well – you can read it, but it’s a little fancy too. Not a fan of the strange looking ampersand in the title though.
The writing style of this book bothered me and it took me awhile to get used to it. Also, I didn’t know that this was a religious book when I started reading it. Nothing in the summary said ‘hey this is a Christian book’ to me. Perhaps I should have been tipped off by the whole ‘Strange Book’ thing, but I wasn’t. Don’t go into this expecting a super deep look at a teen’s life with ADHD. It’s much more of a book about Jessie getting to know her dad and crushing on a guy.
- Rocky – I really like Rocky, Jessie’s crush. He had a little bit of a bad boy vibe, but he was a nice guy who was just trying to make his way in life without the support of his parents. He obviously respected Lou and it was really great for Jessie to see that his admiration of her dad was backed up by past events. I liked how Rocky and Jessie interacted with each other – how Rocky encouraged her to be nice to Weezie, her bratty half-sister, and keep her chin up at the restaurant, and how they traded questions for insults.
- Lou – Jessie’s dad was really cool, and he was obviously trying very hard to be a good parent to both Jessie and Weezie. He was also a father figure to Rocky and some other people in the youth group that was mentioned once. He was going crazy trying to deal with both of his daughters at once, and deal with them hating each other, but he did well.
- Jessie – So, a lot of the time I thought Jessie was acting immature, but I think she did grow quite a bit. She did have a lot of heavy stuff to deal with, between her ADHD, her mom’s bipolar disorder, her dad’s sudden appearance in her life, and her half-sister being a total brat. She made a lot of stupid plans and decisions in the 1st half of the book to get Lou to ditch her or to try and ditch him. By the end she had realized that she could do things she didn’t think she could before, and that her mom was really discouraging and also wrong.
- “friends” – Jessie’s friends, Marcus and Chelsea, are unbelievably awful. While it’s true that they don’t know anything about her mom because Jessie lies to them constantly, they are the exact opposite of supportive when the stuff with her dad happens. Jessie has always thought her dad was dead, then he shows up out of nowhere – but all her friends can say is ‘OMG! Why’d you go away to Florida?? Come back you jerk!’ Like she had a choice about going away – she’s 15! I know they don’t know the whole story, but they’re so selfish and they don’t even ask about what’s going on with the dad she never knew before they hang up on her. They just don’t care.
- young – The writing in this book is really juvenile. The sentences are short and abrupt, and it just felt like Jessie was younger than she was supposed to be. (Although part of that was Jessie’s fault because she did throw a complete hissy fit like a 3 year old when Weezie figured out that she had ADHD.) It was confusing at 1st because I couldn’t tell if it was the writing, or if the author was trying to get into the mindset of Jessie’s ADHD. The writing was just weird and I had trouble getting into the story because of it. It made me feel like I was reading a book aimed at a younger audience.
- religion – Alright, here we go. Again, I didn’t know this was a Christian book. People can find strange books without it being the Bible, right? Anyways, the way the religious elements of this book were handled made me feel like this was aimed toward a Middle Grade age – definitely not teens. Jessie’s reactions were a little off and made her seem younger than 15…like she’s in church and thinks it’s cool that the priest is ‘acting out’ the Last Supper during Communion. That could be my own bias though, since I did grow up Catholic. The RL book (the Strange Book mentioned in the title) and Jessie’s interactions with it (yeah, she talked to the book) were also very simply written. I mean, I guess I understand that, if the author’s purpose is to communicate based on the idea that she wants to convert a reader with no previous knowledge at all of this religion. It just seemed that the assumption was that we needed it spelled out extremely simply. Like we couldn’t later ask someone, or ask Google. That’s nice I guess – but I don’t read in order to be converted. I think it’s fine if a character has faith, or is discovering religion, but in this book it felt too much like it was aimed squarely at me as the reader and not Jessie. It was part of the story, but it felt like too much.
- “You can sit down,” Lou said. “The flight’s been delayed again.” No, I could not sit down. Climb the post I was leaning on. Run down the up escalator. Those things I could do. Sitting down was out of the question. I guess I didn’t know how much those little green pills were helping me until I stopped taking them. – Jessie + Lou (her dad) ebook location 741
- He dropped my wrist and peeled himself away from the wall. “You want ice cream?” “No,” I said. “I don’t think you know what you want, so we’re getting ice cream. And I’m buying.” He put his gleamy green eyes close to mine. “Not Lou. Me.” – Rocky + Jessie loc. 2394
Acquired: bought (ebook)