27 January 2010

Review: Jerk, California By: Jonathan Friesen

Title: Jerk, California
Author: Jonathan Friesen
Publisher: Puffin/Speak, 352 Pages (September 4th 2008)
From: Crownbook Outlet

Synopsis: Twitch, Jerk, Freak, Sam Carrier has been called them all. Because of his Tourette's syndrome, Sam is in near constant motion with tics and twitches and verbal outbursts. So, of course, high school is nothing but torment. Forget friends; forget even hoping that beautiful, perfect Naomi will look his way. And home isn't much better with his domineering stepfather reminding him that the only person who was more useless than Sam was his dead father, Jack.

But then an unexpected turn of events unearths the truth about his father. And suddenly Sam doesn't know who he is, or even where he'll go next. What he does know is that the only girl in the world who can make him happy and nervous at the same time is everywhere he turns . . . and he'd give anything just to be still.

Review: 4 Stars - Jerk, California took us on a journey of Sam, a teenager with Tourett’s syndrome. The beginning of the book shows us just how hard Sam had things at home and just how misunderstood the condition was during the time. His step father is the worst of all. Treated Sam as badly as anyone could be treated, tourrets or not. Sam enjoys going on long runs because it’s one of the only things he can do and count on where he’s in full control of his body.

As soon as he graduates he’s left more or less to fend for himself and chooses to leave home. His mother is helpless and pretty scared of her new husband that she doesn’t do or say anything to help Sam out when it comes to his stepfather. He finds solace in the town hermit and takes a job and moves in with him. This hermit, who turns out to know more about Sam – or Jack then he can even believe. He also knows quiet a bit about his father and his death. It’s a great twist to the story as we see and follow Sam’s changes in and about life, as he learns more and finds out some truths that turn out to be exactly the opposite he’s been told growing up his whole life.

Sam does have a crush throughout the book, Naomi and with yet again another turn of events finds himself on a journey, with Naomi - which his father left for him to take. A trip that will take him to see his dad’s work in the windmills he’s built all over the country and the people who knew who his dad really was.

It was great to see how freeing the truth is and just how much all this was needed to fit the pieces of Sam’s, or rather Jack’s life together. At times the story was bitter sweet however it all worked perfectly with the flow of things. In the end it’s really all about the mental and emotional journey we see Sam/Jack go through. The ending fit perfectly. I could see how this ending would bother some people, but I really liked this - where you could see just how okay Sam/Jack was going to be, showing just how far he had come through everything. I would suggest just about anyone to read this… from mid to late teens on up. For me it had some great messages to it, I’m sure others would get as well.

FTC Disclaimer: I DID pay for this book and have NOT been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this review.

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