The Other Way Around (Fiction - Young Adult)

3.72 avg rating
( 173 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781467702621: The Other Way Around (Fiction - Young Adult)

"Andrew has seen a flash of his future. (Dad: unfinished PhD. Mom: unfulfilling career. Their marriage: unsuccessful.) Based on what he's seen, he's uninspired to put a foot on the well-worn path to the adulthood everyone expects of him. There must be another way around.
After a particularly disastrous Thanksgiving (his cousin wets Andrew's bed; his parents were too chicken to tell him his grandmother died), Andrew accidentally (on purpose) runs away and joins the circus. Kind of.
A guy can meet the most interesting people at the Greyhound station at dinnertime on Thanksgiving day. The Freegans are exactly the kinds of friends (living out of an ancient VW camper van, dumpster diving, dressing like clowns and busking for change) who would have Andrew's mom reaching for a third glass of Chardonnay. To Andrew, five teenagers who seem like they've found another way to grow up are a dream come true. But as the VW winds its way across the USA, the future is anything but certain.
The path of least resistance is a long, strange trip."

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About the Author:

Sashi Kaufman is a middle school science and English teacher who lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and daughter. She loves contemporary YA, survival stories of all kinds, and journeys large and small. She is an amateur trash-picker and apologizes now if she has ever poached anything you did not mean to leave on the curb. She hates caraway seeds.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Sixteen-year-old Andrew is overwhelmed. His parents? They’re divorced, and he is in the middle. His school? It’s primarily a girls’ school, and he can’t get a date. What’s worse is that his mom is the principal. His education? He is repeatedly told he is not applying himself. His outlook? Uninspired. At Thanksgiving, Andrew’s jerky cousin visits, declares him gay, and wets his bed. There’s only one way to end the madness: to run away. At the bus station, Andrew meets a group of older hippie-esque teens who live life on terms that would make his mother chug her wine. They busk for cash, dumpster dive for food, and live in an old camper van as they travel across the country. Andrew takes off with them, expecting to have an interesting, if not uplifting, adult-free adventure. As the troupe goes from town to town, he learns about making choices and dealing with their consequences; gaining and losing a person’s love and trust; and ultimately, accepting responsibility. In the process, the weight of others’ expectations is lessened by discovering what he expects of himself. Kaufman offers an interesting twist to the coming-of-age story by combining Andrew’s rereading of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild (1997) with an on-the-road tale. Often frank, other times startling, always filled with the familiar wanderlust most every teen experiences, this book has wheels. Grades 8-12. --Jeanne Fredriksen

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