So what's the absolute value of a friendship?
Just how far apart are we, anyway?
LILY: "For three years, I'd been trying to hold on to Simon and pull him against me. He was a bar of soap in the shower, though: slippery as hell, and one false move--squeeze a little too tight--and he's gone. And picking up a wet bar of soap in the shower is pretty difficult."
NOAH: "Lily has these big brown eyes. It sounds corny, but they totally get me. They make my stomach and heart flip five times a piece. So I looked away quickly, because I have a tendency to kind of stare at her if I don't catch myself. It's been like that forever."
SIMON: "I never thought much would change with Lily being my girlfriend. I mean, she and Noah were the only people I hung out with much anyway, so now I'd be kissing her and fondling her and she'd be kissing me and fondling me. Not much of a difference, really."
Title: The Absolute Value of -1
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Carolrhoda LAB
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Source: Received from author courtesy of The Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to Steve Brezenoff, and Kari from The Teen Book Scene for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 4/5
The Absolute Value of -1 opens up with Suzanne, Simon's older sister, giving an introduction of sorts. The book then is broken up into three segments. One segment each for the three friends, Lily, Noah, and Simon. Each segment gives a more detailed look at the individual characters, and what they are dealing with, and how they interpret situations differently from each other. Life can be tough when you are a teenager, and through the viewpoint of all three characters, we see just how they react to the hand they are dealt.
Lily is a character that I can somewhat commiserate with, however I wish she would have spoken up more. She has a snarky, tongue in cheek voice, and I found that I quite enjoyed reading from her perspective. It was refreshing to read her thoughts and realize that they weren't glossed over. Her raw emotions were an honest representation of her character.
Noah is the one to go to if you want to obtain a buzz. He has his own issues with abuse, both physical and verbal. He has the shortest segment in the book, but in no way does that mean that he is a less important character. He lets the reader in fully to see just what his situation is like, and again, there is nothing glossed over. It is heartbreaking really to see what he lives with, and how he handles everything that is thrown at him.
Simon's segment is perhaps the most heartbreaking of all. His emotions are ragged, especially with what he is dealing with. He is a character that I found myself identifying with almost immediately. His circumstances dictate that he grow up faster than he should, leaving him not knowing which way is up.
As the book progresses we see a variety of situations glimpsed through the eyes of all three characters. The variance between them though is astonishing, as one would look at something completely different from the others. This book also goes to show you that you may think you know what is going on in your friends' lives, but you don't. Not really.
All in all, a book that takes an unfiltered look at the hardships that circulate through most families. A well-written, and thought-provoking read. What would you have done in any of the characters given situations?