12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn by James Proimos, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn

12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn

4.1 6
by James Proimos
     
 

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James "Hercules" Martino has until the end of the summer (a.k.a. two weeks) to accomplish the
twelve tasks given to him by his Uncle Anthony. The tasks will take him to the far reaches of Baltimore, lead him to a Beautiful and Unattainable Woman, and change the way he sees his past, present, and future.

Spare in words, but abundant in big ideas and laugh

Overview

James "Hercules" Martino has until the end of the summer (a.k.a. two weeks) to accomplish the
twelve tasks given to him by his Uncle Anthony. The tasks will take him to the far reaches of Baltimore, lead him to a Beautiful and Unattainable Woman, and change the way he sees his past, present, and future.

Spare in words, but abundant in big ideas and laugh out loud humor, James Proimos has crafted a novel for any teenager who's ever had a complicated relationship with a parent. In other words, everyone.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Hercules Martino, 16, sits in a room full of his famous father's admirers listening to mourners shower the closed coffin with gushing eulogies. Hercules, however, can't quite make himself say anything nice about the man. After the funeral, his mother sends him to finish out the summer with his bachelor uncle. On the train ride to Baltimore, the teen sits next to a "Strange Beautiful Unattainable Woman" and thinks he must have her. When she gets off, she leaves her book behind. From that point on, she becomes a much-needed distraction for Hercules, as well as part of the 12 tasks his uncle assigns him to complete during his two-week stay. His first task is to choose a mission. He opts to find the Strange Beautiful Unattainable Woman and return her book. As Hercules halfheartedly completes the tasks, he finds small moments of everyday magic and discovers new aspects of himself, his family, and life. In a minimum of pages, Hercules charms readers with humor and honesty, often in raw language, and his story will appeal to those who have admired the passing Strange Beautiful Unattainable person, including reluctant readers.—Mindy Whipple, West Jordan Library, UT
Publishers Weekly
Time and again, picture-book creator Proimos has demonstrated a rock-solid sense of humor and outside-the-box thinking. His first book for teens is no different, opening a promising new chapter in his career. Sixteen-year-old James Martino, nicknamed Hercules, is spending the summer in Baltimore with his Uncle Anthony, who has given him a list of 12 tasks to accomplish (one even involves cleaning a stable). It’s meant to stave off boredom and maybe help Hercules deal with the recent death of his father, a beloved self-help author and talk-show host. Beloved by all but Hercules, that is, who eulogizes his father thusly: “He was an ass.” In chapters lasting just a page or so, Hercules gives a blunt and blisteringly funny account of his misadventures (“Horses are running everywhere. We are in the jeep. Chasing them. Through streets. Through other people’s farms. Through hell and high water, really”), which revolve around his efforts to reconnect with a “Strange Beautiful Unattainable Woman” from the train to Baltimore. Proimos fully inhabits the mind and voice of his hero, whose almost mythic journey offers moments hilarious, heartbreaking, and triumphant. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

“Hercules charms readers with humor and honesty…” —School Library Journal

“This fun, slim book has a very interesting premise: a boy who happens to be nicknamed Hercules and who has recently lost his father is assigned twelve tasks (labors) to complete when he goes to stay with his uncle over the summer.” —VOYA

“Proimos fully inhabits the mind and voice of his hero, whose almost mythic journey offers moments hilarious, heartbreaking, and triumphant.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Told in short, near-poetic vignettes, the chapters of Proimos' first teen novel are packed with plenty of small details and genuine moments of ridiculous humor.” —Kirkus Reviews

VOYA - Kevin S. Beach
This fun, slim book has a very interesting premise: a boy who happens to be nicknamed Hercules and who has recently lost his father is assigned twelve tasks (labors) to complete when he goes to stay with his uncle over the summer. His well-chosen tasks are intended to keep him busy but also are aimed at finding him a job, giving religion a chance, working hard, finding a girlfriend, doing something for others, setting goals, and thinking big. So the protagonist who is pretty much a slacker at heart discovers new insights about himself while employing repressed skills he did not know he had as he goes about his quest, always tongue in cheek. Hercules's famous father was a poor excuse for a dad, and through his trials, our likable hero learns to become his own person, stepping out of his father's shadow. Overall the story is rapid fire, told mostly in short chapters with staccato sentences and thoughts. And while the book has its witty moments, it is also a little silly and unrealistic. This reviewer would have liked to see more depth in the characters, but it works in its own way. The author has written numerous books for the juvenile market. This is his first young adult novel. Reluctant readers will really enjoy it for its slacker humor, its readability, and, of course, its brevity. Reviewer: Kevin S. Beach
Kirkus Reviews
Homeless dudes, hot pizza girls, tanning salons and horse-stable make-out sessions punctuate a summer in Baltimore. After his television-celebrity dad's death, 16-year-old Hercules Martino is sent from his Upper West Side home to Baltimore to spend the last two weeks of summer with his Uncle Anthony. Upon arrival, Hercules is handed a list of things he must accomplish during his stay, and despite his resistance, he somehow manages to stumble into each and every one of them. The one he deems most important finds him chasing a lost copy of Winnie-the-Pooh for a hot college girl and sets him on a trajectory to complete the other tasks. Although Hercules and Anthony have never hit it off, their hilarious "man speak" insult-based dialogue intimately suggests that a connection does exist between them. Told in short, near-poetic vignettes, the chapters of Proimos' first teen novel are packed with plenty of small details and genuine moments of ridiculous humor. Often these chapters are too short and lack connective tissue, however, which results in confusing passages of time, odd jumps in plotting and, most often, a longing for more details. Still, readers will relish Hercules' smart-alecky, slacker sense of humor and his dogged determination to get the girl. An all-too-brief madcap summer adventure of longing, lust, confusion and clarity. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429977081
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
11/08/2011
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
128
Lexile:
HL540L (what's this?)
File size:
241 KB
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

1
 
 
The casket is closed. It was a plane crash, after all.
The pews overfloweth. As do the sentiments of the never-ending line of avid admirers, casual acquaintances, business associates, relatives, and what have you that take their turn at the podium on the church stage.
One person leaves, another takes his or her place. It’s been going on for hours.
A chubby lady wobbles to the microphone:
“He was as fabulous as a man could be. He was rich, but he was charitable. He was strong, he was sensitive. I was lucky to know him. We were all lucky to know him.”
She wobbles off.
A tall man in a black suit with a big red bow tie sprints up to the pulpit:
“He was a god. A god, I tell you.”
He sprints back to his seat.
An entire family, one of them holding a crying baby, gets up there and sings “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”
Now the whole place is bawling.
There is a long silence.
Suddenly, all eyes turn to me. I seem to be the last person who might have something to say.
I slowly walk up to the front of the church. I stand at the podium. I clear my throat.
“He was an ass. My father was a complete and total ass.”

 
Text copyright © 2011 by James Proimos

Meet the Author

James Proimos is married to a Beautiful and Attainable Woman and they live on a small horse farm outside of Baltimore. He has written several books for children, but 12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn is his first novel for young adults.


James Proimos is a well-known author, illustrator, and cartoonist. He began his career in advertising and has won many awards, including several Cleos. He lives in Baltimore, with his wife and children. He is the author and illustrator of Knuckle and Potty Destroy Happy World and is the author of 12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn.

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