Review: The Absolute Value of Mike

The Absolute Value of Mike

The Absolute Value of Mike
By Kathryn Erskine
(Philomel, Hardcover, 9780399255052, June 2011, 256pp.)

The Short of It:

Laugh-out-loud funny.

The Rest of It:

When his father takes a teaching job in Romania for the summer, fourteen-year-old Mike is sent to a town he affectionately calls, “Do Over” so he can stay with his grand-aunt and uncle known only as Moo and Poppy.

Moo and Poppy have their own issues. They’ve recently lost their grown son Doug, and Poppy spends his days sitting in his chair, staring at the TV and eating nothing but Scrapple. Sitting in a chair all day wouldn’t be too bad, but there’s a project that the entire town is relying on Poppy for, and he’s in no shape to complete it. Having no other choice, Mike steps in to save the day.

There are some very serious issues contained within its pages, but The Absolute Value of Mike addresses them with humor. The small town feel and the relationship between the town’s inhabitants is at times laugh-out-loud funny, but also very sweet.

I had just begun to read this when The Boy took it out of my hands. He is not a reader, but after reading the opening paragraph, he declared that he would read it after me. Wha?? The Boy said he wants to read it? Wha?? It took a moment for that to settle in.

Isn’t that saying something though? This is clean tween reading. No vamps or zombies here. Just Porch Pals, a car named Tyrone and a Romanian orphan looking for a home. Although it’s geared towards tweens, I enjoyed it too.

Erskine’s name might sound familiar to you and that would be because she also wrote Mockingbird, which I reviewed here.

The Absolute Value of Mike is an Amazon Best Book of the Month and has been chosen by Indie booksellers for the Summer 2011 Kids’ Next List.

Source: Sent to me by the author.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

14 thoughts on “Review: The Absolute Value of Mike”

  1. Ti, this one sounds like a fun read! Love books that make you laugh out loud 🙂 And thanks for the link to scrapple – don’t really think I’ll be trying that anytime soon 😉 I’ve written this title down and will definitely be reading it and giving a copy to my little cousin. Thanks!

  2. This is the first review I’ve read of this book and I’m so excited to see that it’s so good. I just found out yesterday that the author is coming here on August 1!

  3. We practically lived in scrapple country once…I think you either love or hate the stuff…

    The book sounds like a winner!!!

  4. OK … I have a girl neighbor who this sounds like it would be perfect for … especially since her family is Romanian and they are departing for Romania next week!!!

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