Review: The Other Way Around by Sashi Kaufman
The Other Way Around
by Sashi Kaufman
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication date: March 1, 2014
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
SYNOPSIS: Andrew West goes to an all-girls school and he still can’t get a date. If that’s not bad enough, his Mom is the headmaster. Everyone seems to have the wrong idea about Andrew. His teachers think he’s a good student who doesn’t apply himself—he really is trying. The kids at his old school thought he was a goth. His cousin Barry thinks he’s gay.
When his Thanksgiving break goes tragically awry he decides to run away. He catches a ride with a strange group of older teenagers. The Freegans are street performers and dumpster divers. As Andrew travels the country with his new friends he leaves behind the expectations of others and discovers what he expects of himself.
The Other Way Around was a pleasant surprise. For some reason (I think I might have just read part of the synopsis, not the whole thing), I didn’t expect it to be a road trip novel. I was too focused on the ‘his mom is the headmaster of his all-girls boarding school’-thing. The first few chapters were a bit boring, but once the main character Andrew starts travelling with the Freegans, it picks up and starts to get really interesting.
I loved how independent these young people were. It got me thinking about how I should really work on becoming more independent, and that maybe I need some big, life-changing journey of my own.
I also really liked their point of view on certain things like alcohol and drugs. I personally completely agree with their straight-edge way of living, and it’s probably the first book I’ve read in which this plays a role.
I hated Emily, the girl who was supposedly the hottest of the group. She was the most annoying, selfish, and fucked-up character… I didn’t see why Andrew was so into her, other than the fact that she had boobs. She got more and more frustrating as the story went on, and I just wanted to cut off her dreadlocks and stuff them in her mouth to shut her up.
(But I have to admit, she did get a bit better at the end.)
G was my fave. She was cool and honest. I really liked her story and the moments she and Andrew bonded, especially the stargazing part. The only thing wrong with her is that her (nick)name annoyed the crap out of me.
I did not expect the plot twist near the end at all. Honestly, I thought it came a bit too sudden. I was very confused (and intrigued at the same time) for a few pages until everything was explained, and the explanation given still didn’t really satisfy me.
One thing I wish would’ve been different is the cover design. I mean, it’s not hideous, but it could be a lot better. There’s so much you can do with road trip novels when it comes to the jacket design, and I don’t think this cover really shows what’s on the inside of the book. Also, that orange pattern used is just gross.
I’d recommend this if you enjoy coming-of-age stories and road trip novels.
Rating: (4/5 stars)
Thanks to NetGalley and Carolrhoda Lab for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.
"Just then Tim shouts out, "TENS!!!" "All right," Jesse says. "I think there’s a rest stop up ahead."
"Tens is like ten minutes until you need a bathroom," Tim explains. "Fives is like five minutes. And if you yell turtles, that means it’s an emergency and whoever is driving should pull over at the nearest good-sized bush or tree."
(Possible spoiler.) "Alex loves her. I asked him if it was because they’re both gay, and he just laughed at me and said G was tuff. He spelled it out like that too. He said I should have my own support group and I could call it AMFAG—all my friends are gay."
"You’ll deal with it when you’re ready," Jesse says, like he’s seeing the future. "That’s the beauty of the bus, man. No past, no future, just today."
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