Monday, May 14, 2018

Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A. E. Kaplan - ADVISABLE

Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A. E. Kaplan, 320 pages. Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random), 2017. Language: R (74 swears, 0 ‘f’) Mature Content: PG Violence: PG (mild violence)

In this comedic retelling of the well-known epic Beowulf, Thomas Grendel is having an easy summer crushing after a girl he likes and hanging around his colorful neighborhood, if you don’t count the wild parties his neighbor Rex has each night. They are bothering his father, who has been suffering from PTSD and the grief from his mother’s passing years earlier. When his plan to stop the parties backfires, he must deal with the consequences, and fight a war with Rex he’s not sure he can win.  

Grendel’s Guide to Love and War takes the required reading of Beowulf in high school and turns it into a fun, emotional story that quite originally focuses on the villain of the story, Grendel. In this contemporary version, instead of a monster, Grendel is a teenage boy with a propensity for pranking and a crush on a manic pixie dream girl with hidden depth. Kaplan focuses on wit and humor in her reimagined tale while deftly disproving stereotypes and juggling a complex subplot on what it really means to know a person.

Reviewer: Jewel

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