This book I primarily read by loitering inside a Barnes and Noble, which is fitting for this book. I remember going to the setting of this book, Venice Beach once, and my friend said he wished he could be one of the people who just live on the beach so he could get to know all of the interesting folk. I thought, why would you ever want to do something like that:
This book felt surreal, because it was about homelessness and teens with mental problems, but it was so down to earth. Somehow, the subject matter only bred hope and you almost never pity these characters. Nelson was never trying to make readers feel guilty, and did not try to shove any values down readers' throats. It blended realism and the mundane into a subject that would be abstract to most people.
I appreciate the effort in keeping this story grounded. It is difficult to wrap one's head around the mind set of some of these characters, but that does not lessen how endearing they are. Cali, shines with optimism and great morals throughout. Jojo just sounds like the best guy you'll ever meet who wears Spongebob sneakers and sleeps on the beach. Other characters play their roles and most are brief, they feel like they exist their in this world, not just plot devices.
I did have a few issues. The first person narration lead to Cali making generalizations about characters before we got to meet them which tampers with their images. I would prefer if he did not fill my head with the preassembled description that I have for "nerdy girl" and just let a character breathe a bit. I get that we want to see how he perceives her, but that will tamper with how I view her if he makes this statement before he meets her. I also felt like the evil twins showed up too often, too at random. They seemed like they were shoehorned in wherever the plot needed them.
Otherwise, one of my favorite books of the Super Summer. That's 10 down, 15(+) to go! And shelf.
-first person and Cali
-the random twins
-Cali explaining people