Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli
Joanna Cotler Books, 2008
Rating: 3 of 5
Everything changes the day ninth-grade Will Tuppence learns one startling fact: protons--those tiny atomic particles, the building-blocks to the building-blocks of life--can die. The one thing that was so certain in this world to Will has an expiration date.
And Will's carefully planned-out life?
Not so certain, either.
Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli tips Will's world on its side to show that the beauty and wonder of life is in not knowing what comes next.
I'll start off saying that it took me two tries to get going with this book. Part of it could be that after starting it, I went on vacation for a week and lost the mood. The other part is the book itself. Even the second time, it took a bit for me to get interested in it. It's leisurely paced and calculated, like the main character Will Tuppence, who has a scientific mind and enjoys breaking life into measurable parts.
Will is obsessed with the proton; all his life he has believed that somethings existed that was indestructible. One morning he learns otherwise and it turns his world upside down. This event is the catalyst for all other events in the book. The death of the proton changes Will's view of his world. This provides a different backdrop for the typical teen experience of experiencing love for the first time, coming to terms with other people's choices and dealing with a bratty younger sister.
It took some time but toward the end of the book I decided I liked it. It's not going on my top ten list, but it was worth the read.