book reviews

REVIEW: Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

Learning to Swear in AmericaGenre: Realistic Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Romance

Published: July 5, 2016 by Bloomsbury

Format: Hardcover, 346

Source: Library

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary: An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize–if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri’s 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe. [Goodreads]


Even though I am not a fan of science (like, at all), I love science fiction and books about space. While I don’t understand pretty much all of the terms, there’s something about the plot that really interests me. Along with the science aspects of this book, I loved Yuri, the protagonist, as well as the supporting characters and the plot.

Yuri was a very fun character. He’s seventeen, already through college and on his way to a Nobel prize. He’s never been to America before, and as a Russian, it’s hard for him to blend in. His dialogue is hilarious, and he actually doesn’t know how to swear like an American. He’s a very awkward and endearing guy, which was probably one of the best parts of the book. It’s interesting to see Americans through his eyes and read about life back in Russia. I was disappointed in the lack of his home life in the story because even though his mother is not present in his life, it would have been nice to hear more about where he came from. With a character like Yuri, who is very timid and doesn’t share much form his life, it would have been nice to allow the reader into his head a bit more personally instead of just professionally and scientifically.

Now onto the romance! Dovie, Yuri’s love interest, was not my favorite. She seemed very two-dimensional and very dry, like she was trying too hard to be different. I liked her dynamic with Yuri even though it always seemed to be awkward even when they were part the getting-to-know-you stage of their relationship. It seemed as though both of them were not as involved in their relationship as the author would have liked them to be based on the forced nature of her writing. I loved Dovie’s brother Lenon and would have liked him to be more prominent. It seemed as though all of the characters, even Yuri, didn’t get enough time for me as a reader to truly understand and appreciate them.

The plot of this story was very interesting, but the ending seemed very rushed and slightly disappointing. The meteor’s process was very drawn out, but the final result was very quick, so much so that I didn’t even realize it was over until I started a new chapter. Overall, I’m pleased with this book, but I don’t think I’d recommend it to someone unless they wanted something simple and not complete.

The next review I’ll have up this weekend of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs! Happy reading!

 

 

 

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