Saturday, February 2, 2013

“...funny, fast-paced, and quite poignant” --R. J. Palacio, author of Wonder

Sam Lewis is going to get his butt kicked in exactly thirty-three minutes. He knows this because yesterday his former best friend Morgan Sturtz told him, to his face and with three witnesses nearby, “I am totally going to kick your butt tomorrow at recess.”

All that’s standing between Sam and this unfortunate butt-kicking is the last few minutes of social studies and his lunch period. But how did Sam and Morgan end up here? How did this happen just a few months after TAMADE (The Absolutely Most Amazing Day Ever), when they became the greatest Alien Wars video game team in the history of great Alien Wars teams? And once the clock ticks down, will Morgan actually act on his threat?

Told with equal parts laugh-out-loud humor and achingly real emotional truth, 33 Minutes shows how even the best of friendships can change forever.

Behind the Book:
"Seventh grade was the worst year of my life. By far. My very best friend since fourth grade (the best friend I ever had up to that point) was steadily turning into just another kid at school. Somehow I couldn’t do a single thing about it. I didn’t like his new friends. In fact, some of them were my enemies.

That year was long and painful. And not even a teeny bit funny.

When I started writing my first book for young readers, I knew I’d start with that year, with what it felt like to learn the hard way that your best friend could decide all by himself that the two of you aren’t even going to be friends anymore. I wanted to write about the loss of a best friend, but not just because it happened to me. I wanted to tell this story because I was certain it was, and is, a story tons of other kids are going through all the time. Almost every other adult I talk to about this experience seems to have a similar story, a story they’ll never forget, even if they’ve tried. And most of them, including me, have definitely tried.

But just because that sad, painful, unfunny year felt like it lasted forever, it didn’t mean that the experience of reading my book about it should be any of those things. So I decided that Sam Lewis, my protagonist, would go through it (or finally come out, pretty much in one piece, the other end of it) in only about 33 minutes. And his telling of it, however sad at the core, would have to be funny, too. Or even hilarious. And, in a few places, totally absurd.

And maybe that last part is no coincidence, because if there’s one thing I learned in middle school it’s this: you’ll never survive those years without an oversized sense of humor."

--Todd Hasak-Lowy 

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