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ANTSY DOES TIME by Neal Shusterman Kirkus Star


by Neal Shusterman

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-525-47825-6
Publisher: Dutton

Antsy Bonano of The Schwa Was Here (2004) continues his trend of befriending boys named after vowel sounds and diacritics, when he strikes up a strange relationship with classmate Gunnar Ümlaut. When Gunnar casually reveals that he’s dying of Pulmonary Monoxic Systemia, Antsy just as casually offers Gunnar a month of his own life. But the friendly offhand gesture prompts other students to follow suit, in a trend which soon spirals out of control, leading to school-district–sponsored rallies and door-to-door time collection. Meanwhile, Antsy struggles with his attraction to Gunnar’s gorgeous older sister, Kjersten. Though Antsy’s feel-good realizations ought to feel saccharine, they fit perfectly into this tragicomic romp which runs from a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade raccoon-balloon disaster to a chorus of the Swedish national anthem and Abba’s “Dancing Queen” sung—simultaneously—in a sketchy Catskills casino. Silliness balances out the maudlin, keeping Antsy’s story from either bathos or antic excess. (Fiction. 11-13)