In this story, we get to view the world through the eyes of a troubled teen who cannot speak. Instead, he writes everything down. This is both his main form of communication and his hobby. Because of his journaling, he is very introspective and observant. He also enjoys telling stories and spending time alone or stealing things from people in hotels. This is how our story begins.
Once Parker meets Zelda in a hotel (after trying to steal from her), he is immediately drawn to her because her eyes convey what he calls “perfect sadness.” For someone who looks so young, he wonders how this can be. After a conversation with her, Parker discovers that Zelda is planning on jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge once she spends all of her money. She offers to spend it on Parker if he “treats her like a teenager.” Parker is tasked with devising typical teenager activities for Zelda, not because he wants her money, but because he needs to find out why she looks so perfectly sad. Parker spends the next few days with Zelda figuring her out and trying to convince her not to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.
This book isn’t like a lot of the books that I usually enjoy. If you can’t already tell from my previous blog posts, I enjoy books that are action-packed and filled with dangerous characters. There’s nothing really life-threatening in this book, it’s just a book about teens and the events in their lives. (The only life-threatening part is Zelda is planning on jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.) Everything else is about seemingly unimportant events that normal teenagers experience. However, these events are made enjoyable because they are told by Parker.
BEEF/SPOILER ALERT: The only problem I had with this book was its immortal element. I would have rather Zelda be just another troubled teen, making up outrageous stories to help her cope with her life, as Parker originally thought. Instead, she’s immortal and doomed to live as seventeen forever.
This book is absolutely brilliant. Parker speaks to us like we’re life-long friends. He is comfortable telling us things as he sees them. His thoughts are introspective and often brazen. He is clever, funny, and thoughtful and this helps endear him to me. (Who doesn’t love a witty underdog?)
This was a good read, and I highly recommend it.