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The Absolute Value of -1

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Overview

Noah, Lily, and Simon have been a trio forever. But as they enter high school, their relationships shift and their world starts to fall apart. Privately, each is dealing with a family crisis—divorce, abuse, and a parent's illness. Yet, as they try to escape the pain and reach out for the connections they once counted on, they slip—like soap in a shower. Noah's got it bad for Lily, but he knows too well that Lily sees only Simon. Simon is indifferent, suddenly inscrutable to friends. All stand alone in their ...

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The Absolute Value of -1

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Overview

Noah, Lily, and Simon have been a trio forever. But as they enter high school, their relationships shift and their world starts to fall apart. Privately, each is dealing with a family crisis—divorce, abuse, and a parent's illness. Yet, as they try to escape the pain and reach out for the connections they once counted on, they slip—like soap in a shower. Noah's got it bad for Lily, but he knows too well that Lily sees only Simon. Simon is indifferent, suddenly inscrutable to friends. All stand alone in their heartache and grief.

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Editorial Reviews

Kevin Sawyer
Lily, Noah, and Simon are teenagers attending classes (when they aren't skipping to smoke cigarettes) at a Long Island high school. When family issues and the pressures of becoming an adult complicate their once-simple friendships, each deals with the changes differently. Lily worries that her love of math will betray her slacker reputation, Noah retreats to his basement to avoid an abusive father, and Simon joins the track team to get healthy and pursue a "normal" girl. The characters narrate the same events but from their own unique perspectives. As the story unfolds and the plotlines interweave, the profound and poignant realization comes to light: how deeply can you know another person—even a best friend? A series of misunderstandings, unspoken truths, and angry outbursts claw away at the trio. As they drift apart, they struggle to balance emotional wounds with the need to create their own identities. Reviewer: Kevin Sawyer
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This novel covers seventh grade to sophomore year from the points of view of four characters: Lily, a math whiz who is obsessed with Simon; Noah, who is in love with Lily, even though he knows she is not interested in him except for the cigarettes and marijuana he supplies; Simon, a writer who drifts through most of his days; and, briefly, Suzanne, Simon's sister. All four are dealing with problems at home and surviving as best they can. To the outside world they seem an inseparable unit, but they know little to nothing about each other's lives. In spite of a few interesting aspects, the book is unlikely to capture readers' attention. None of the characters is particularly likable or sympathetic, or exhibits any emotional growth. The narration from different points of view is confusing, especially Lily's section, which goes back and forth in time. Few teens will have the patience to see the story to its unsatisfying conclusion.—Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761381303
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2011
  • Pages: 290
  • Sales rank: 830,599
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Brezenoff has written several chapter books for young readers, and The Absolute Value of -1 is his first novel for teens. Though Steve grew up in a suburb on Long Island, he now lives with his wife, their son, and their terrier, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    Read this book. It automatically stood out from the rest of the

    Read this book. It automatically stood out from the rest of the books on the shelf to me. I begged my mom for it, and she got it from me. 
    It is totally worth it. A story with twist and turns. The ending fit perfectly. It told a story of drugs and dysfunction. 
    A good read for sure.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Absolute Value of -1 by Steven Brezenoff Review

    We all know that no two people are the same. Everyone deals with different situations, everyone has an image they want to project to others, and everyone deals with problems (be they big or small) at some point in their lives. Steve Brezenoff introduces us to Noah, Lily and Simon and gives us a taste of his take on relationships and what brings us together and the distance that is inevitably between us.

    I've really become a fan of author's giving us multiple narrators and points of views. This book is broken into sections, each featuring one of the characters and giving us their story. Each section may seem like you'll be given the same version of the same story, but by hearing and seeing it through each respective character you really start to understand how there is more than one side to every story. It also becomes obvious that every little detail affects every individual differently.

    Brezenoff doesn't give his readers fairy tales or sugar coated story lines. The issues he brought to the table are real and they're not all pleasant. Drug use, abuse, heart break and the like. Unfortunately these are also not subjects people are unfamiliar with. Readers will be able to relate in some way shape, or form and will be able to appreciate how Brezenoff wove his creation together.

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

    Posted July 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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