In the summer before high school, a down-on-his-luck outsider turns to the only thing he trusts: his journal.
Miles Lover—or Retard, as his “friends” have dubbed him—hates a lot of things: school, his parents, his younger twin sisters, his old house, his neighbors, bodily functions, death, and seemingly everything in between. He takes too many drugs, drinks too much, and skates too hard. The diary structure—and lack of dated entries—evokes the feeling of endless summer that Miles hates so much. The book meanders and unfolds based on whatever Miles feels compelled to divulge at the moment, the short vignettes swinging rapidly from honesty to bluster in true teenage fashion. Sometimes he writes about his recent crush or ruminates on innocuous idioms, and other times he contemplates his parents' divorce and his own mortality. Though Miles loses his temper and never seems to do anything right, Reed (Miraculous Fauna, 2016, etc.) offers empathetic glimpses into his psyche, including his incessant worrying about his mother and tenderness toward animals and nature. Reed convincingly writes a three-dimensional teenager whose self-consciousness, emotions, and hormones threaten to crush him. What Miles wants to do and what he does are constantly at odds; for a boy who always fights with his mother, he surprises himself throughout the book with his caring (“Sometimes after my mother goes to bed, I come and tuck her in for the night”). Near the end of the summer, Miles’ luck seems to change when his path crosses with that of his new elderly neighbor, Mister Reese, who his sisters believe is a murderer. The newfound friendship provides some of the most self-aware moments of his summer, which feel not only earned, but necessary.
A coming-of-age story capturing male adolescence in all its disgusting, irrational, and messy glory.