Review Blog

Dec 05 2017

Learning to swear in America by Katie Kennedy

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Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2016. ISBN 9781619639119
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Minor sexual references. Katie Kennedy's gripping first novel brings the reader a suspenseful, compelling yet touching story. Learning to Swear in America follows the trials of Yuri Strelnikov, a 17-year-old Russian physicist prodigy who must put his skills to the test to save the world from a potentially planet-destroying asteroid. Despite being respected as an expert in his theory of antimatter back in Russia, Yuri finds himself fighting to be heard in NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, often undermined due to his age. Just as the pressure Yuri is carrying on his shoulders begins to take its toll, he meets Dovie Collum, his perfect antithesis. Artistic, caring and poetic, Dovie provides the scientific and systematic Yuri with a different way of seeing the world, and acts as his motivation to save it. Yuri's arrogance and intellect, which may be difficult for some readers to connect with, is well-balanced by Dovie's humour and compassion, allowing a wide range of readers to find a relatable element in either of their personalities. Touching on sci-fi, action, adventure and romance, Kennedy's debut novel finds the reader holding their breath as they devour page after page of nail-biting action. The reader will be unable to peel their eyes away from the book, determined to discover how and if Yuri will be able to save the world, accompanied by expertly crafted characters that draw the reader further into the world of the novel. This is a novel that will not only touch your heart, but will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
Daniella Chiarolli (university student)

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