- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (October 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1561456233
- ISBN-13: 978-1561456239
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,287,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Theory of Everything Hardcover – October 1, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Sarah, 15, is trying to deal with the death of her longtime best friend. She divides her life into Before Jamie Died (BJD) and Since Jamie Died (SJD). She is overwhelmed with guilt because she was operating the moving wall when it malfunctioned and crushed her friend. Now she avoids the gym as much as possible, but she has to go to her locker to pick up some supplies. As she's leaving, a deer crashes through the windows. It brings back the day Jamie died and takes her back into the orbit of Jamie's family, especially her twin brother, Emmett, who seems to be the only person who understands what she is feeling. An incident with her dog brings her to the attention of Roy Showalter, the man who cleaned up the deer and who runs a Christmas tree farm. Sarah begins working for him at the farm and at his Christmas stand. Through the hard work with Roy, she allows herself to move on and make new friends and learns that people can only help if you open up and let them. The doodle-illustrated pages with Sarah's theories about everything look like something a teenage girl would put in her journal and add to the story. These, along with Sarah's nearly constant snarkiness, make this a story with which most teens can identify, even if they have not lost a close friend. Add to collections where books by Sarah Dessen, Maureen Johnson, and Deb Caletti are popular.-Suanne B. Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Six months after her best friend, Jamie, died in a tragic accident, Sarah is struggling to overcome her grief and guilt. Sarcasm has become her main mode of communication, and it is straining her relationships with her family, boyfriend, and friends. Then another accident takes place in the gym where Jamie died, setting into motion a series of events that help Sarah begin to address her grief. Although the subject matter of the book is emotionally wrought, the novel is leavened with laugh-out-loud passages, and the characters are well drawn. Sarah is a relatable teenage girl trying to find her way, and her loving, engaged parents are desperately seeking a way to reach their daughter. Throughout the novel, Johnson artfully weaves the theme of how to best accept life’s randomness. The open-ended conclusion nicely encapsulates Sarah’s progress through grief, and the opportunities that lay before her. A beautifully multilayered book that explores some of life’s big questions in a thoughtful and amusing way. Grades 9-12. --Eve Gaus
Top customer reviews
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That's how captivating this story is.
I'm sure the target audience, youth, will lap it up.
Full of life's lessons and wisdom.
Sarah suffered an inconceivable tragedy; she lost her best friend Jamie in a horrible accident. But that isn't the worst part. The accident was Sarah's fault. Now SJD (Since Jamie's Death), she has become a different person, a person apparently no one enjoys being around, including her parents and her boyfriend Stenn. And to top it off? Her regular demeanor was replaced by a snark box that makes people stop feeling sorry for her and start getting annoyed by her. But regardless of how much Sarah just wants to be left alone to wallow in her misery, no one seems to want to leave her alone. The only creature who understands Sarah is Ruby, her rescued dog who knows just how to calm Sarah and exactly how to get her in trouble.
Feeling guilty, Sarah agrees to go to a party with Stenn, but she brings Ruby along as a buffer. Ruby takes off through the woods and ends up in a creepy man's garage eating the very same deer carcass that crashed through the high school gym right in front of Sarah (bringing all the memories of Jamie's accident flooding back with a vengeance). When the creepy man shows up at Sarah's school, he offers her a chance to work off the lost meat by working on his Christmas tree farm. If she agrees, he won't tell her parents about where she was and how her precious dog went native. Sarah will do anything to protect Ruby, but she wasn't expecting hard labor to be just the thing she needed to truly begin to heal. Snark Box and all!
Oh, how I loved this book, let me count the ways! 1. Sarah and her snark box were just the kind of dry sarcasm I have been looking for in a main character these days. Coming from a family full of Snark Monsters, I appreciate a good snark box! 2. Sarah's grief was real, it was tangible, and it made me, the reader, grieve right along with her. Her reactions are expected and unexpected at the same time, the very nature of grief personified. It was beautiful and painful, all wrapped up together. 3. There was no attempt to romanticize or glorify Sarah's relationship with Emmett, Jamie's twin brother. In a cheaper, cheesier YA novel, they would have realized their love for one another and ridden off into the sunset. In this book? They are both suffering. They need each other. But it isn't about some forced romance. It is friendship, understanding, and a mutual love for someone they both lost. 4. Stenn was a good guy. He really was! He was, months after Jamie's death, growing weary of Sarah's actions and unable to understand why she couldn't move on, but he was patient, he loved her, and he was devoted. He wanted the best for her, but he was human and humans can grow impatient eventually. Even when he grew impatient, though, he was always just a boy who cared about her and wanted to see her smile again.
This is one of those books that just makes your literary hairs stand on end. I loved every single page, every description, and every bit of dialogue. I am so very impressed with Johnson's portrayal of this young woman who just can't survived in a world SJD. It reminded me of Green's Fault in Our Stars and Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere not because they are similar stories, but because the characters are so real and the situations are so bitter-sweet you can picture yourself doing and saying exactly what the authors have written. This is a story for so many different people. Basically, if you know someone with a heart who needs a good book, pass this along. You won't be sorry. Snark and all, this was quite the masterpiece!
As a lover of character-driven stories, I have to say that it wasn't initially the characters that kept me engaged. It was moreso the situation that drove the characters which brings me to the pacing of this book. It is perfect! Johnson knows how to keep a reader hanging until just the right moment. Right when you think you can't take it anymore, not getting answers to questions that arise early on, Johnson intertwines the two sides (character & story) so beautifully a few chapters in and that is when you realize this story is a keeper. Also, the fact that there is no love triangle in this YA book makes this book amazing in its own right. I was really intrigued by what Sarah was going to decide to do about her life after her best friend died (this is not a spoiler) and it took awhile for Sarah to decide. Some of the decision making was done on her own and some decisions were made because of a great push from the people around her and life moving on around her. Life is not going to stop and wait for you to catch up. This is a wonderful story about what happens when someone is stuck and is genuinely trying to catch up... with the help of wildly clever diagrams to introduce each chapter. I enjoyed this book and I know you will too. Especially if you want a stand alone YA book that will both entertain you and hit you with some very thought provoking words, pick up The Theory of Everything.
This is easily one of the best books I have ever read. It is one of those books you pick up and don’t put down until you finish it, and one that will make you cry and laugh. From the language, the characters, the message, the humorous graphs that mark each chapter, and even the cover- this book was extremely enjoyable. I would highly recommend it anyone.
Reviewed by Emily T., age 16, Broward Mensa