Monday, November 24, 2008

Antsy Does Time

Antsy Bonano and his buddies Ira and Howie are spending Thanksgiving flipping channels between the big game and the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. They are just making fun of a marching band dressed in orange and pink when Ira notices the giant balloon featuring Roadkyll Raccoon is bucking and swinging in the wind. Next thing they see, Roadkyll is heading north with 3 balloon handlers still hanging on! The balloon alights atop of the Empire State Building, deflates, and the handlers are still there swinging from their tethers. Anthony turns to his friends and says, "Let's go".

On the train, they see school-mate Gunnar Umlaut. Antsy has known Gunnar since elementary school, but they don't really hang out or anything. In fact, this is what Antsy has to say about Gunnar:

"Gunnar's got long blond hair he makes no excuse for, and a resigned
look of Scandanavian despair that melts girls in his path. And if
that doesn't work, the slight accent he puts on when he's around
girls does the job. Never mind that he's been living in Brooklyn
since he was six. Not that I'm jealous or anything -- I admire
a guy who uses what he's got.

After the attempted rescue is over, Gunnar sways slightly and stumbles and Antsy asks him what is wrong. Gunnar surprises Antsy when he says that it's just part of his condition. He then tells Antsy that he has 6 months to live.

Now, Antsy has never had a friend who was dying before, and he has a need to do something Meaningful for Gunnar. Antsy comes up with the bright idea of donating one month of his own life to Gunnar. Sure it's only symbolic, but it's the thought that counts, right.

The problem is that everyone in the school hears about it and lots of kids want to get involved. Which would be fine, unless Gunnar is not telling the whole truth.

Antsy Does Time is filled with memorable characters, and Antsy's voice will have readers smiling. Even if one hasn't read The Schwa Was Here this title stands on its own. Antsy's family is having problems during this time, and apparently so is Gunnar's. Though the topics are heavy, Neal Shusterman uses his trademark humor to make the reading easier, and to add depth. Funny and sad all at the same time, this read for older tweens will be enjoyed by boys and girls alike.

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