By Scott Blagden
Available now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR
If the title isn't enough to convince you to pick this book up, then this might not be the book for you. But trust me: you're missing out on a real gem. Scott Blagden's debut novel DEAR LIFE, YOU SUCK is the story of Cricket, who is about to age out of the boys' home he lives in.
Cricket is an amazing narrator. His voice is absolutely absorbing, and plot relevant! He's definitely a teenager, and shoots himself in the foot sometimes. (I absolutely adored one scene where he realizes his actions caused him to miss out on an opportunity.) He has anger issues, and is perhaps a bit too laid back about drug dealing. At the same time, Cricket's got a lot of positives in his personality too, and he grows as a character throughout the story. The first thing that really drew him to me as a reader is also what endears Cricket to his crush Wynona: he totally loves and cares for the younger kids in the home. Aww.
Honestly, I don't have much to say about DEAR LIFE, YOU SUCK. It fits into the vein of books like Dale Peck's SPROUT, Michael Hassan's CRASH AND BURN, and Andrew Smith's WINGER. It's a realistic contemporary that deals with some of the harsher facts of life (and being a teen), as told through the eyes of a witty, talented young man. But I really liked it. There's so much personality in this novel, from the unconventional family to the sweet romance to the slightly melodramatic but fitting ending.
Therefore: love, love, love.