Dear Life, You Suck [NOOK Book]

Overview

“The shrinkadinks think I have a screw loose. Ain’t playing with a full deck. Whacked-out wiring. Missing marbles.” Irreverent, foulmouthed seventeen-year-old Cricket is the oldest ward in a Catholic boys’ home in Maine—and his life sucks. With prospects for the future that range from professional fighter to professional drug dealer, he seems doomed to a life of “criminal rapscallinity.” In fact, things look so bleak that Cricket can’t help but wonder if his best option is one final cliff dive into the great unknown. But then Wynona Bidaban steps ...
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Dear Life, You Suck

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Overview

“The shrinkadinks think I have a screw loose. Ain’t playing with a full deck. Whacked-out wiring. Missing marbles.” Irreverent, foulmouthed seventeen-year-old Cricket is the oldest ward in a Catholic boys’ home in Maine—and his life sucks. With prospects for the future that range from professional fighter to professional drug dealer, he seems doomed to a life of “criminal rapscallinity.” In fact, things look so bleak that Cricket can’t help but wonder if his best option is one final cliff dive into the great unknown. But then Wynona Bidaban steps into his world, and Cricket slowly realizes that maybe, just maybe, life doesn’t totally suck.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Blagden’s debut, a fast-paced story of a teen trying to figure out his place in the world and his sense of morality, frustrates even as it charms. Cricket has lived in a Catholic church–run orphanage for years, and now that he’s a senior, he’s not sure if his future lies in being a drug dealer, a boxer, or in ending his own life. Other than sparring, Cricket is only motivated to watch old movies and watch out for the younger kids in the orphanage. Defending them from bullies often gets Cricket in trouble, but his habit of smarting off to authority figures also does him no favors. Nor does his crush on classmate Wynona, girlfriend of school bully Pitbull. There’s much to enjoy about Blagden’s storytelling, which is why so many things—Cricket’s overly goofy language (“Foxy Moxie totally shocks the shiitake mushrooms out of me”), Wynona’s undeveloped reasons for dating Pitbull, Cricket’s homophobic and unchecked comments about his principal—are letdowns. The result is an exasperating story from an author with potential. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ruben Pfeffer, East West Literary. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"A profane, profound debut. . . . One of the most wrenching and engaging young-adult books to come along in ages."The Wall Street Journal
 
"This is a truly original work, and fans of Sherman Alexie may find a new favorite in Blagden."
School Library Journal, starred review

 
"Dear story, you rock. . . . All readers will appreciate Cricket's complex, lovable character and the strong adults who nourish it."
Kirkus

"Through Cricket, Blagden offers a fine masculine viewpoint that expresses the intensity of grief."
Booklist

"Readers who like male protagonists and gritty, contemporary settings will enjoy this carefully crafted novel."
VOYA, 3Q 3P J S

"Cricket conveys his damage through a wildly inventive voice; his often profound philosophies and speculations about life, parents, art, sex, and God are couched in energetic (and sometimes shockingly profane) imagery that turn ordinary language into the verbal equivalent of a Chihuly glass sculpture—colorful, twisted, brittle, and arresting."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Holden Caulfield, meet 2013. With his irreverent, hilarious, and heartbreaking first novel, one thing is clear: Scott Blagden is the real thing."
—Deb Caletti

"Dear Life, You Suck will certainly offend a few and delight thousands. Profane, sacrilegious, and defiant, this debut novels crackles with energy. It has depth and human significance, by which I mean the real stuff of real life."
—Ron Koertge

"Cricket Cherpin is profane, funny, hard, vulnerable, kind, angry. In other words, he's as complex and as unique as you or me. His unusual and realistic voice will grab you from the first page and stay with you long after the last one."
—Francisco X. Stork

"Dear Cricket, you rock!"
—Tim Wynne-Jones

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In present-day Maine, Cricket Cherpin is the oldest resident at the Naskeag Home for Boys. Since he arrived at age 10 with a scar in the shape of an "X" marring one side of his face, he has been both trouble to the nuns who raise him and a godsend to the Little Ones who look up to him. Taught to box by the caretaker of the property, Cricket protects the younger kids from bullies, one school-yard fight at a time. But it comes at a cost. He is one fight away from expulsion and eight months away from his 18th birthday. His request to remain a boarder at the home is denied, and Cricket must decide where he will go when the nuns can no longer protect him. The way he sees it, he has three options: go from collecting fees for a drug dealer to dealing himself, take Caretaker's advice and box for real, or choose the easy way out and end his life. Throughout this first novel, Cricket evolves from an angry young man into the role model the younger boys believe him to be. His internal dialogue evolves as well. The beginning pages are wrought with sarcasm and teen speak that will likely be as difficult for some teen readers to decipher as it is for adults. However, as the character changes, so does the writing. This is a truly original work, and fans of Sherman Alexie may find a new favorite in Blagden.—Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
Dear story, you rock. Seventeen-year-old Cricket Cherpin (yes, his real name) has lived in a Catholic orphanage in Maine since he was 8 and his little brother died. He has a deep facial scar, the legacy of a prostitute mother and a drug-dealing father, and he hides an even deeper, internal scar through constant fighting and irreverence for authority (he's not afraid to tell it like it is), religion (he hates Jesus), language (f-bombs land) and sex (he thinks about it a lot). Although Cricket is deemed a bully, his punches keep younger boys and school nerds safe. In this debut, his first-person narration, loaded with biting sarcasm and never-ending nicknames for his oppressors, reveals the push and pull of his soul. Cricket loves old movies, feels comfortable with his feminine side and relishes telling stories to the younger orphans, yet emotions surrounding a potential romance, guilt over his brother's death and an uncertain future make him ready to jump off the local cliffs. While a slow build of hints to Cricket's past helps explain his current state, a sudden chain of events forces him to confront his violence, relationships and the direction of his life. Only fellow classic-movie and -television buffs will understand all of the teen's references, but all readers will appreciate Cricket's complex, lovable character and the strong adults who nourish it. (Fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547904337
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/26/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 215,541
  • Age range: 14 years
  • File size: 274 KB

Meet the Author

SCOTT BLAGDEN grew up in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and now makes his home on the coast near Cape Cod, where he enjoys being a dad to his teenage twins. In addition to writing, he has been self-employed in real estate for thirty years. Dear Life, You Suck is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Rating: 3.5 The Low Down: Cricket Cherpin isn¿t the kind of

    Rating: 3.5




    The Low Down: Cricket Cherpin isn’t the kind of guy who starts fights, but he sure will finish them. The oldest kid living at the Naskeag Home for Boys, he looks out for the younger ones and steps in when they need help. Unfortunately, his bad attitude and any return volleys in the punching department don’t help foster a great relationship with either the school principal or Mother Mary, the nun who runs the home. After eight long years, you’d think they’d get it by now: he’s not going to break down and cry on their shoulders like some weepy girl, no matter what. His past is his past, and it’s going to stay there. He's got vodka, a joint and his simmering anger to keep him warm at night. Though he wishes it were Wynona Bidaban.




    What kind of future is there for a guy like Cricket? Does he even have one? He’s just a pain-in-the-ass waste of space, right? He could just say sayonara right now and save everyone a lot of trouble . But what would the little guys at the Home think about that? Who would tell them their stories and stand up for them at school?




    Sometimes, though, all you need is a change of scenery to see things from a different perspective, to have a little hope. It doesn’t hurt that Wynona is the cause of some of that change. Maybe that adjustment will be all it takes for Cricket to finally believe that life still sucks occasionally, but it can be wonderful as well. And he deserves it.




    Opinions? Yeah, I Got Some: Cricket is the kind of guy that you don’t know whether to stomp away from or force into a motherly hug. Though the story didn’t hold many surprises, the manner in which it was written was either going to make you love or hate the main character, and in a hurry. He’s a closed-off entity with a foul mouth and even fouler thoughts. He’s irreverent, obscene, raunchy and indecent. He has a hard shell on the outside with a gooey marshmallow center, though there is a layer of rusty nails and scar tissue in between.




    A great book for anyone who likes to have their redemption flavored by salty tears and served with an extra-large helping of filter-free smartass.




    The Bottom Line: Be ready for a rollercoaster of a story; sometimes you’ll be screaming with your hands in the air; sometimes, you’ll be cringing on the floor. Either way, it's a good ride.




    Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden was published today by Harcourt Children’s Books. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to Scott Blagden and the Harcourt Children’s Books for my ARC.




    Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary
    Ages: 13 and up
    You Might Want to Know: Underage drinking and drug use; profanity; frank discussions

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    The guy below

    Wow that guys post below mine is real over dramatic

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    LOVE!

    Great book. Read it in two days. Couldn't put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2013

    HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book!!!!!!!!

    Absolutely fun and wonderful read. Touching in so very many ways. I can't wait to read his next book...Hopefully there will be one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I'm so in love with this book that I hated to see it end...I wan

    I'm so in love with this book that I hated to see it end...I wanted it to go on and on like the stories our hero tells the "little ones"  at the Naskeag Home for Boys.  And have no doubts...Cricket is a hero because he survived a terrible childhood and has now become an unlikely mentor and big brother to his fellow orphans.  There are no heroically murdered parents in this orphan's back story, just brutally uncaring parents whose incarceration delivered Cricket first to an equally horrific foster home and then into the multiple bosoms of the Church. He uses not a magic wand to protect himself and his fellow small fry, but his fists; he's not a big guy, but once he commits to a fight -  and only in defense of the bullied "little ones" - he won't quit until the guy who started the fight goes down.  The book is rife with violence and authentic language and the raging hormones of any teen boy. The book should be read by guys because Cricket is such an unlikely hero; girls should read it because it might make them aim a second look at the supposed loser guy hiding beneath a scar, a hoodie, and a wicked bad attitude.  This book made me wince, made me laugh,  made me ball up my fists with the need to go back in time to defend Cricket and his baby brother...and, man, did it make me cry.  Loved it, and Scott Blagden just went on my short list with Chris Crutcher of authors to recommend to teen guys or any teen reader who wants a book peopled with characters blessed with heart, guts, and wit.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

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