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Strangely Good | Book Review: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

100 Sideways Miles is the type of book you should understand before starting…

Book Review: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

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100 sideways miles andrew smith book review

Title & Author: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, Romance

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

How I Got the Book: Bought – Book Club Pick


“Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved.

Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny. ”

Down the Rabbit Hole

The majority of my book club voted for 100 Sideways Miles for our January meeting. Full disclosure: I did not vote for this book. But, I’m very glad democracy won the day because although 100 Sideways Miles isn’t a book I necessarily fell in love with, it is absolutely worth reading.

One of the first things I want to point out is the unique writing style of the story. The narrative is told by Finn Easton, a tall gangly guy who has epilepsy and a famous writer for a father.

There is not a clear forward thrust to the story until about halfway through the book. The reader learns bits and pieces about Finn, his best friend Cade and the new girl in school Julia in fragmented, non-linear format.

So like, Finn will say a bit about how his mom passed away because a horse fell on her (and Finn, too), which is why he measures life by miles and not seconds. And then the next chapter or paragraph will say something completely unrelated.

It was hard to get used to at first because I kept wondering if anything was going to happen. You know, like romantic tension or …anything. Rest assured, action does if fact take place, and it’s all highly entertaining.

In that way, 100 Sideways Miles is a simple book. It’s written exactly like a 16-year-old boy thinks. With cussing and a preoccupation in sex and kissing. But with some innocence, too, because Finn is a sweet kid who’s just trying to make sure he’s real and not an invention of his father’s bestselling fiction novel.

I laughed out loud several times while reading, too. Irony, tragedy and comic relief blend together to form a series of awkward events for Finn and his friends. If humor had not been added to this book, this would be a VERY different review for sure.

This book is not going to be for everyone. It’s the type of book you can enjoy on a mental level. As in, “wow, I see what the author did there and that was so smart; I appreciate that.” But as far as actual enjoyment meaning gushy feelings moments or the feeling that “OMG everyone must read this right now!!!” might not be on par with some other YA classics.


This is a perfect book club selection – there’s a lot of meat and truth and hilarity to talk about in this novel. I recommend this book with a few reservations.

Go into the story knowing that the narrative is a bit rambling and non-linear and that there are an abnormally large number of “boner” references. But, if you start this book knowing the pace is slow but steady and that Finn’s mind is a beautiful and strange place, you’ll be so thankful you read 100 Sideways Miles.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Stephanie

    That is exactly how I am feeling about the book right now. I’m enjoying myself but it’s not going to be a book I tell everyone about. I’ve been wondering ‘where it is going’ because it definitely meanders along. Cade and Finn just got to their road trip, so I’m assuming that SOMEthing will happen. The humor is definitely what saves the book. I should be able to finish in time for your book club!

    • Yes!!! I can’t wait to hear what you think when you’re done. And yay, I’m so glad you can make it!!