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How You Ruined My Life
Cover of How You Ruined My Life
How You Ruined My Life
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A new hilarious novel from the author of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever and Stranger Things Have Happened.

Rod's life doesn't suck. If you ask him, it's pretty awesome. He may not be popular, but he and his best friends play in a band that has a standing gig. Yeah, it's Monday night and they don't get paid, but they can turn the volume up as loud as they want. And Rod's girlfriend is hot, smart, and believes in their band—believes in Rod. Aside from a winning lottery ticket, what more could he ask for?

Answer: A different cousin. When Rod's scheming, two-faced cousin Blake moves in for the semester, Rod tries to keep calm. Blake seems to have everyone else fooled with good manners and suave smile, except Rod knows better. Blake is taking over his room, taking over his band, taking over his life! But Rod's not about to give up without a fight. Game on. May the best prankster win...

A new hilarious novel from the author of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever and Stranger Things Have Happened.

Rod's life doesn't suck. If you ask him, it's pretty awesome. He may not be popular, but he and his best friends play in a band that has a standing gig. Yeah, it's Monday night and they don't get paid, but they can turn the volume up as loud as they want. And Rod's girlfriend is hot, smart, and believes in their band—believes in Rod. Aside from a winning lottery ticket, what more could he ask for?

Answer: A different cousin. When Rod's scheming, two-faced cousin Blake moves in for the semester, Rod tries to keep calm. Blake seems to have everyone else fooled with good manners and suave smile, except Rod knows better. Blake is taking over his room, taking over his band, taking over his life! But Rod's not about to give up without a fight. Game on. May the best prankster win...

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Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    660
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • JEFF STRAND lives in Tampa, Florida, and doesn't believe in voodoo. But he still thinks you should carry a doll around, go up to people you don't like, and chuckle while you jab it with pins, just to make them squirm. Poke around his gleefully macabre website at www.JeffStrand.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 29, 2018
    In this self-aware comedy, a teen’s life
    is thrown into disarray by the arrival of
    his manipulative cousin. Sixteen-year-old Rod is the lead singer of an almost-successful punk band, and he has a hot girlfriend, so he thinks everything’s fine. But when his buttoned-up, hyper-privileged cousin, Blake, comes to stay for several months, the two are instantly at odds. Blake seems hell-bent on sabotaging every aspect of Rod’s comfortable existence, but Rod can’t persuade anyone else of Blake’s nefarious intentions: is he succumbing to paranoia or is something else going on? Rod’s easily distracted inner voice and quasi-unreliability as narrator—he’s prone to exaggerations and digressions—cause the plot to meander toward its climax. Looked at one way, this is a textbook example of gaslighting and psychological warfare; looked at another way, it’s a comic war of wills between two teenagers pushing each other to the breaking point. Strand (Stranger Things Have Happened) has a keen ear for dialogue and character interaction, but the ending fizzles after all the buildup of tension between the cousins. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2018

    Gr 7 Up-A clever, relatable novel about teen competition, chaste romance, pranks, jealousy, and kindness. Rod, lead singer in a pretty awful high school punk rock band called Fanged Grapefruit, has an awesome life for the most part, with a beautiful, supportive girlfriend, a few tight friends, and a terrific, hardworking mom. Everything changes, though, when odious cousin Blake moves in for three months and begins to deliberately and sneakily destroy everything good in Rod's life. He seems to have everyone fooled about his true nature. Rod responds: game on, and may the best man win. Witty dialogue, ridiculous yet believable situations, and just the right note of self-deprecating introspection make this a perfect book for reluctant readers as well as those who are just not in the mood for angsty YA novels. VERDICT Sure to fly off the shelves, this delightful addition to the minuscule shelf of truly funny books for teens will be eagerly snatched up and passed hand to hand.-Susan Riley, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2018
    Two cousins trapped under the same roof engage in psychological warfare.Rod may not be very popular or live in a big house, but he has a tight group of friends, an up-and-coming band, and a perfectly sweet girlfriend. His dad abandoned the family, but Rod is close to his mom, a waitress. All in all, plenty to be thankful for. However, when his wealthy cousin Blake's parents go on a three-month around-the-world cruise, guess who shows up for an extended visit? Blake and Rod get off on the wrong foot, and the pair's conflict quickly devolves into a battle of wills and mutual sabotage. As Blake, with his high-handed arrogance, systematically chips away at Rod's sanity, readers will howl with laughter, cringing as the author twists the screws at perfectly placed intervals. The resolution is a tad disappointing, but Rod's narration is amusing, with a playful awareness of literary convention that makes for a breezy read. The tertiary characters are thin, particularly Rod's band mates (readers may have trouble telling them apart), but the book aims for laughs, and it earns them. All major characters are assumed white.A well-paced comedy that doesn't quite stick the landing. (Fiction. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publishers Weekly "Strand (Stranger Things Have Happened) has a keen ear for dialogue and character interaction"
  • School Library Journal "Witty dialogue, ridiculous yet believable situations, and just the right note of self-deprecating introspection make this a perfect book for reluctant readers as well as those who are just not in the mood for angsty YA novels."
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