Monday, October 18, 2010

Friend is not a Verb by Daniel Ehrenhaft

I have a special place in heart for books that break a run of terrible or mediocre books that I'm reading. For me the latest book like that is Friend is not a Verb by Daniel Ehernhaft.

Hen is justifiably angry. His sister, Sarah, disappeared over a year ago without telling him why. His parents know, but won't tell him. His girlfriend, Petra, just kicked him out of her band and dumped him. He is barely processing that when he finds out that his sister is coming home. He doesn't know how he feels about all of this, especially the fact that Sarah is hiding from the law and still won't tell him anything.

Ehrenhaft does a wonderful job portraying Hen's anger and disappointment in a realistic way. As the story progresses Hen is able to grow through his friendly relationship with his neighbor, Emma, and bass lessons with his sister's fellow fugitive, Gabriel.

Hen humorously uses the style of VH1's Behind the Music to describe his life. Nothing comes easy, however. His parents are crazy and unpredictable, his sister is mysterious and he is driven to thievery in order to figure out what is going on with Sarah and Gabriel.

This is a good funny novel about a teenager growing among odd circumstances. I wasn't a big fan of Ehrenhaft's Dirty Laundry, but now I looking forward to more offerings from the author. This would be good for fans of As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins and Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray.

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