Zen and the Art of Faking It
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Zen and the Art of Faking It

4.1 34
by Jordan Sonnenblick
     
 

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Meet San Lee, a (sort of) innocent teenager, who moves against his will to a new town. Things get interesting when he (sort of) invents a new past for himself, which makes him incredibly popular. In fact, his whole school starts to (sort of) worship him, just because he (sort of) accidentally gave the impression that he’s a reincarnated mystic.
 

Overview


Meet San Lee, a (sort of) innocent teenager, who moves against his will to a new town. Things get interesting when he (sort of) invents a new past for himself, which makes him incredibly popular. In fact, his whole school starts to (sort of) worship him, just because he (sort of) accidentally gave the impression that he’s a reincarnated mystic.
 
When things start to unravel, San needs to find some real wisdom in a hurry. Can he patch things up with his family, save himself from bodily harm, stop being an outcast, and maybe even get the girl?

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Mary E. Heslin
Fourteen-year-old San, an ethnic Chinese adopted by an Anglo-American couple as an infant, is as culturally American as apple pie, but he reinvents himself as a mysterious Zen Buddhist when "the thing" with his dad gets "ugly," and he and his mom leave Houston for a new life in Pennsylvania. San elects the exotic identity partly to spite his father, who extolled blending in, but also to impress his new classmates, especially a pretty girl clearly attracted to his aesthetic persona. The tension involves San's need to role play and to discover and affirm his real selfhood, which involves working through anger at a father whom San tardily reveals is a con man serving a prison sentence. Despite the novel's essential seriousness, San's quick mind and self-deprecating humor make it a light read. As a Zen devotee, San is forced into some tight spots-forgoing a "huge, juicy charcoal-y" hamburger for "the soggy horror" of a veggie wrap to maintain his Buddhist vegetarian identity, for example. In the end, his efforts pay off. He wins the girl, becomes a school celeb, leads the B basketball team to a Zen-inspired victory, is exposed as a fake, repents, and is enlightened and forgiven, all of which require the reader's repeated suspension of disbelief. More circumstances were contrived in service of plot and message than this reviewer prefers, but there are redeeming laugh-out-loud moments that make the book a worthy purchase for school and public libraries.
Kirkus Reviews
Adolescence is a time when teenagers ask the all-important question, "Who am I?," but for San Lee, an adopted Chinese boy starting eighth grade in a new school, the question has particular urgency. Luckily, Sonnenblick pens this story, so all that soul searching is side-splittingly funny as well. San, suddenly poor due to his swindling father's incarceration, becomes the only Asian child at Harrisonville Middle School. That, combined with the fact that he once did a project on Taoism and Zen Buddhism at another school, causes him to come up with a new persona: Buddha Boy. Having learned the art of the con at his father's knee, San, now a "Zen Man with a Zen Plan," manages to convince almost everyone, most importantly the girl he likes, of his superior spiritual knowledge. The irony is that by allowing the lies to pile up, this faux Zen master becomes like the one person he doesn't want to be. Hilarious and heart-wrenching. (Fiction. 12-15)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439837071
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
361,947
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author


Jordan Sonnenblick is the author of the acclaimed DRUMS, GIRLS, & DANGEROUS PIE, NOTES FROM THE MIDNIGHT DRIVER, ZEN AND THE ART OF FAKING IT, and the sequel to DRUMS called AFTER EVER AFTER. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two children.

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Zen and the Art of Faking It 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
kurtguz More than 1 year ago
I skipped through this book in two days! It was VERY good. I highly recommend reading it, it is one of those books that you will always remember and...it's funny so that makes it even better!
cpjack23 More than 1 year ago
Zen and the Art of Falking It by Jordan Sonnenblick is a good book it has to do with a boy who trys to fake his life and really is having a hard life living his own. Zen is a regligous type of buddishm and it really intrests this boy named San Lee so he starts to do a project out. I can't tell you who he is partners with, what he does or the trouble he goes through because I would spoil the book but I can tell you one thing he may be taking his Zen Obseesion a little to far. And you will have to read it to find out the rest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When San lee moves to Nowheresville, Pennsylvania, he's tries to fit in, get the girl of his dreams, and not get up by her big, evil friend. This is a great book for middle school students.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must if you have a child in middle school. My child is in middle school and he cant stop reading this book.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Author Jordan Sonnenblick has done it again. ZEN AND THE ART OF FAKING IT gets the up and downs and total frustration of being a teen just right.

San Lee's life has been full of new towns and new schools, but this one upsets him more than all of the others combined. This time, instead of having his dad uproot the family in search of his latest scheme, it is just San and his mother because his dad is in prison.

Not particularly successful at anything in the past, San has frequently used negative behavior to get attention. Being Oriental and adopted by a white couple has not always made things easy. Now with his father serving time for his shady business dealings, San finds himself feeling the need to get things right this time.

Faced with not only a new school and trying to fit in, but also with Wednesday night phone calls from a convict father he never wants to talk to again, San is ready to try just about anything. With his mother working long hours to make ends meet, he decides he needs a gimmick to win some friends and positively influence some people. Thanks to his new social studies teacher, the door to Zen Buddhism opens wide.

San's well-worn clothes and tattered sandals become a great disguise as he steps into his role as the Zen expert of the eighth grade. With help from the local library, the perfect "meditation" rock right outside school, and his new friend, Woody, San fools everyone into believing his Buddhist philosophy. Although he seems to be fitting in and gaining popularity, he worries that faking it may make him like the father he has learned to detest.

Sonnenblick uses his humorous, straight-forward style to grab readers on page one, and whisk them into San's world. There are crazy antics, a touch of romance, family frustrations, and quite a bit of Buddhist information packed into this fast-paced read. If you haven't read Sonnenblick's other books, be sure to check out DRUMS, GIRLS, & DANGEROUS PIE and NOTES FROM THE MIDNIGHT DRIVER.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't really like it. It was just another mainstream guy gets girl in middle school book. Signed bottlecaps8
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My son really likes reading books on his nook and he said that this is his all time favorite book. Keep it up Jordan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very hard to get into and is hard to follow. I also have to wonder what the climax was. :(
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I coudn't stop readin it.
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David Schell More than 1 year ago
i loved this book, couldnt stop reading it!
Gloria deSouza More than 1 year ago
cant put the book down!!!