Thursday, June 14, 2007

Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick

I was lucky enough to get an advance reader's copy of this newest book by Jordan Sonnenblick, and was also lucky enough to have it autographed at BookExpo in New York City. It's Sonnenblick's third book, and since I absolutely love his other two books (Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie and Notes from the Midnight Driver), I couldn't wait to read it. This story centers around San Lee, an 8th grader who has moved from place to place and changed his persona many times. This time he is angry about his dad being in prison and looking for a way to attract a cute girl named Woody. Partly because he is Chinese and because he appears to know a lot about Buddhism, the kids at his new school decide he is a Zen Master. This seems to work with Woody and life is going pretty well for San. But he does have to hide the fact that his mother is very much not Chinese and he is definitely not a zen master. There is much humor, as it true in all of Sonnenblick's books. There's also the underlying theme of a confused but good kid growing up and learning how to be a good human being and how to have strong relationships with peers as well as parents. There's a great sub-plot dealing with San and Woody performing community service together and I love how Sonnenblick always brings in that theme. I have to admit that this one didn't blow me away like Midnight Driver (one of my favorite books of 2006), but it is still highly recommended. Students will enjoy it and definitely learn a thing or two about zen!

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