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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book in mylar jacket with light wear, shows some light reader wear throughout ,all the usual library marks and stamps.
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The Whole Stupid Way We Are Hardcover – February 5, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442431555
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442431553
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,396,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Dinah wears her dorkiness like bright stripey tights in the gray Maine winter. She and her longtime best bud, Skint, share a kooky appreciation of their small town. Lately, however, Dinah has been seeing a lot of Skint’s “no-fun” persona; he curses a lot, takes off without explanation, and refuses to wear a coat, even in 12-degree weather. Skint is hiding the truth: his father is succumbing to early onset dementia, while his mother reacts with screaming frustration. The more remote Skint grows, the harder Dinah presses to help him, until her good intentions trigger a catastrophic breach of their friendship. Debut novelist Griffin handles the dementia incidents with grim accuracy. Her portrayal of Skint’s helpless grief is sensitively drawn, transforming this oddball friendship story into a tearjerker with depth. Although the pacing is uneven and some of the secondary characters are underdeveloped, this is ultimately a powerful novel about the dueling bonds of friendship and family. For another wintry look at a long-term friendship gone wrong, try Stephen Emond’s Winter Town (2011). Grades 6-9. --Diane Colson


"Skint's life is spinning out of control, and Dinah's desperate efforts to stop the spin only hasten it. This is a story that is so furious, so heartbreaking, and at the same time, so shiny, that by the last line, I realized that everyone here, including the reader, can be their own boss of light. A thing of beauty, that's what this is." (Kathi Appelt, author of The Underneath, a Newbery Honor book)

* "When readers meet 14-year-old Dinah, she’s plotting to get her best friend Skint out of detention, which is Dinah all over: she’s a loving worrier, loyal even to the people and things she’s ambivalent about, like the Girls’ Friendly Society, a service group whose members have dwindled to three older women, Dinah, and the technically ineligible Skint. The Girls’ Friendly tries to help people in its small Maine town, but never in the way Dinah and Skint wish. And the truth is, Skint, whose father has early-onset dementia, could use some help himself, not that he’d take it. First-time author Griffin is good at depicting a small town where the many interconnections make it hard to know what to overlook and when to intervene, and she is equally tuned into the different ways people, adults and teens both, fail each other. It’s impossible not to like clumsy, warm-hearted Dinah, even as her best intentions turn Skint’s family upside down; Griffin’s portrayal of Dinah and Skint’s sense of injustice, frustration, and rage is wrenching and difficult to forget." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"Readers who invest in this quirky set of characters and circumstances will be rewarded." (Kirkus Reviews)

"The theme of missed opportunities for real connection is reminiscent of Perkins’ Criss Cross (BCCB 9/05), so steer readers who loved that book to this one. This title, however, offers more action, action that is sometimes funny, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes painful as readers realize along with Dinah and Skint that not everything in life is fixable, and that we must make room for sadness and loss." (BCCB)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
If Dinah wasn't miserable, Skint was.
This is a wonderful book that will stay with you for a long time.
Kathleen A. Baxter
You can't help but become connected with each character!
Brenda Hartshorn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MadRiverLibrarian on February 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A raw, gritty, and ultimately brave debut novel from break-out new author, N.Griffin. A quite unexpected story about quite unexpected teens. This isn't for your The Clique readers (though they would benefit threefold from reading it). It isn't juicy, it isn't sexy, nor filled with gratuitous drug use and sex in a time when YA books seem to be gorging themselves of those themes. No, this is a brave story. A quiet story. A story yearning to be told - a story about the misfits. Two in particular, Dinah and Skint. Dinah is the quirky daughter of two well-intentioned parents and is perfectly content to tra-la-la through life in her own little protective bubble. In no rush to grow up, but in the 9th ninth grade, is that to her own peril? Is her true nature evolved, or is it stilted in an unconscious effort to maintain her innocence in world where rawness and meanness are par for the course? She is an extension of our existential self, as she asks, as she yearns, as she questions her faith:

"All this wearing out, giving out, people leaving and being left; people leaving, gone forever so you can never be with them again. Never anymore singing or holding their hands. What a way for things to be."

And then there's Skint, a true teenage loner if there every was. All skin and bones, self-righteousness, indignation, and sensitivity. Overwhelmed by life lived both far and near - by monks burning themselves in Nepal on the other side of the world and by a mother brought to the very edge of sanity while caring for his dementia-damaged father. He asks what is the point, why even bother, why good is he on this earth, in spite of all the love he has? He suffers, is in pain, and turns away from his one true friend, the always effervescent Dinah.

I can't wait to read what N.Griffin has in store for us with her second novel. She is a rising star and a writer to watch.
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Format: Hardcover
Insulting as the title may seem, it's fair. Just as humans can be loving, incredible, unstoppable forces, we can also be mind-blowingly, impossibly, insanely stupid. In THE WHOLE STUPID WAY WE ARE, N. Griffith explores the ordinary reality of human existence through the eyes of a couple of teens, Dinah and Skint. But of course, like all human lives, it's so much more complex than that. As the two struggle to retain the normalcy of their friendship even as Skint's life is falling apart, the disconnect between the lives they've led and the gravity of what Skint is facing now grows ever more vast.

Dinah and Skint have been best friends for a long time. But for Dinah, it turns out that even a long time isn't proving long enough. Especially when your best friend's dad has been losing his memory to dementia for a while now, and his mom is viciously incapable of handling the pressure anymore. Or when your best friend wants to rearrange the world order by stealing from the haves and giving to the have-nots. Or even, sometimes, when your best friend just won't wear a coat. In winter. In Maine.

Even though she doesn't understand exactly what is causing Skint's refusal to abide by the rules that governed their lives up to this point, Dinah feels that she must do something to make things better. The question, then, is what. Shockingly, dreaming up schemes of sending care packages to cold-looking neighbors and watching donkeys dance is no longer relevant to Skint. Without knowing why, Dinah realizes that she can no longer engage Skint in her fanciful play-world. But does she realize that to maintain their close relationship she'll have to accept the harshness of the world he sees as real?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tulips on January 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This was a hard book for me to finish, luckily it was a quick read. I loved the relationship between Dinah and Skint; Ms. Griffin wonderfully captured a caring and very protective relationship. The scenes with Skint's father showed a perfect depiction of the horrors of dementia. I had a difficult time getting past the constant ranting and raving by the characters. If Dinah wasn't miserable, Skint was. It made it where I had no clue of the outcome of the story. I was really sad about their crumbling friendship. Plus, I want to know what happened to Skint. But I loved the ending scene with Dinah singing in the church. It gave this misery-ridden book some semblance of hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Khy on August 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Whole Stupid Way We Are is one of those books that showed up in my mailbox without me having any prior knowledge of it. The title intrigued me, but I was put off by the capital letters in the summary on the jacket. Definitely a silly reason, especially because the narrative itself was free of such unnecessary, contrived enthusiasm, and I ended up quite enjoying the story.

The Whole Stupid Way We Are is written from a rather detached, third-person point of view, with a whole lot of dialogue, making me think that if the story was ever adapted into a movie, the most mainstream director it would ever get would be Wes Anderson. This absence of characters' thoughts and rather repetitive way events are described ("Ms. Dugan is the gym teacher and has known Dinah since Dinah was a tiny kid. Ms. Dugan loves her. Ms. Dugan knows what's what. Ms. Dugan can be counted on. Dinah can taste their freedom already.") make it hard to connect with the characters, but the style is one I personally like anyway. It fits the cold setting as well as the growing distance between Dinah and Skint, and I think the prevalence of dialogue shows just how difficult it is for the leading characters to deal with their problems in an open way.

Still, I wished there was a greater sense of emotion in the book, because I think that's what could have made me truly love it. I never quite understood why things were so tense between the friends; there were clear things they differed on, and each person had his or her own set of family and other troubles to deal with, but they never quite added up to make me see why things happened up the way they did. However, I could suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the story.
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