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Kid Konnection: Adios, Nirvana

April 30, 2011

When Jonathan’s twin brother dies in an accident, he blames himself – after all, Telly was running an errand for him.  Jonathan is devastated and doesn’t know how to go on living and he skips school so often he’s in danger of failing his junior year.

Since Jonathan had been a star pupil, and a gifted poet, in the past, his principal and teachers come up with a plan to help him pass and move on with his life.  Jonathan reluctantly accepts the challenge and makes some discoveries about himself and some others.

Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft is told from the point of view of fifteen year old Jonathan, and I did have some trouble connecting with him.  After all, he thinks about teenage girls. . . a lot.  He also refers to music a lot and most of that was lost on me.   I ended up thinking this book was good, but not great, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m not the target audience.  I do think a male teenager who is into music would probably love this book.

Even though I didn’t love this book, I did appreciate quite a few things about it.  I loved the fact that Jonathan and his friends (or “thicks” as he called them) were loyal and supportive of each other.  I also liked the fact that the adults in Jonathan’s life cared about him and wanted to help him.  One of the best things about the book, though, was the fact that Jonathan was a poet and he was working on a poem about his brother.

Chaos XV

All year, I’ve been
building fences
on the ragged
boundary of death.
Just when I’m ready
to wipe my hands and slouch away,
I open the gate,
step in.
Shove it closed behind me
(good ranch hand that I am).
I’m back in Death County, USA.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there were times that the high school in this book was a little too good to be true.  All of the adults at the school were caring and compassionate, some were well known in their fields, and the school had amazing facilities.  That hasn’t been my experience with the American education system, but maybe things are different in other parts of the country.

I think Adios, Nirvana is a great book for male teens, especially those who are dealing with loss.

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week,  leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
15 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2011 5:58 am

    This sounds like a great emotional read even though you had difficulty connecting with it. I find that my age also impacts how I feel about certain books as well.

  2. April 30, 2011 8:04 am

    Okay, not the book that I normally would read. Sorry to hear that it wasn’t all fabulous.

  3. April 30, 2011 8:15 am

    I do think this book will appeal to some teen boys and I appreciate that. There aren’t a lot of those out there right now!

  4. April 30, 2011 9:25 am

    I don’t have teen boys anymore, they are men now, but I can see how this might work for young men dealing with loss.

  5. April 30, 2011 9:45 am

    I see why this book might not have worked so well for you, but I agree that male teens might get much out of it. Now that my daughter is no longer at home, I have little familiarity with popular music references, so I’m sure alot of this would go over my head 🙂

  6. April 30, 2011 10:00 am

    Sounds a tad bit too melodramatic and predictable for me. But then again, I am far away from that target audience!

  7. April 30, 2011 10:25 am

    I don’t think there are any schools like that in any country’s education system. 🙂 But literary license and all that.

  8. April 30, 2011 10:52 am

    This might be a good book for my son, but I am not sure it would hit home with me. Thanks for the honest and perceptive review of this one. I will be keeping it in mind!

  9. April 30, 2011 11:40 am

    I don’t think this book is for me, though like the main protagonist, I love music. I have not read many books from a guy’s perspective.

  10. April 30, 2011 2:02 pm

    We have great results in our schools but still those caring teachers and all that sounds too far fetched for our system too. Sounds more like a fancy private school

  11. April 30, 2011 3:17 pm

    It is good that it will appeal to teenaged boys…there doesn’t seem to be any books for them to read…kind of sad when you think how many other YA books are out there…

  12. stacybuckeye permalink
    April 30, 2011 9:55 pm

    The high school sound a little idealized. Certainly wans’t my high school and I went to a decent one!

  13. May 1, 2011 2:41 am

    I can´t imagine feeling responsible for the death of a twin, it would be so awful! I am sorry this wasn´t as good as it should have been, especially with a high school full of such supportive people!

  14. May 1, 2011 2:44 pm

    Noting this one down for my teen son. I can relate to not connecting to the character but in the end it seems worthwhile for its honesty.

    Thanks for the honest review Kathy.

  15. May 3, 2011 3:24 pm

    Sorry you didn’t love it. I think it sounds interesting, but worry that the things that kept you from loving it would bother me too.

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