Sunday, January 6, 2008

Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick

San Lee is new in school -- again. His dad's less than respectable choices have dragged San and his mom all over the country, and now San has to decide who he wants to be all over again at a new school. Through the double coincidence of being a) the only Asian kid in schoool and b) the only student to have already covered Asian religion at his previous school, San accidentally stumbles into being pegged as some sort of Zen Master -- and then has to frantically learn as much as he can about Zen Buddhism to make his new persona fly.
Of course, San is doing this to impress a girl, and of course his ruse gains more and more momentum until, of course, he gets busted being a big phony. But somewhere along the way, despite being convinced he's nothing but a fake and a liar, we get to watch San learning about Zen and developing his own unique philosophy.
Once again Sonnenblick is funny and delightful to read, and it's nice to know that some readers might come away from this book with an interest in Buddhism. A MAYBE for now; I'm very curious to see what others think.


At January 24, 2008 at 6:35 AM , Blogger Kip said...

I enjoyed this, but I don't know whether it is quite award worthy. Good characters who display different types of growth throughout the book. I'm going MAYBE for now.

At January 28, 2008 at 12:52 PM , Blogger Patty said...

I LOVED it! This is the Teen book I want to write--funny, light-hearted, happy ending, feel good stuff, but with some light romance and lots of laughs. I give it a YAY.

At February 4, 2008 at 8:55 PM , Blogger kathy said...

I would put Zen on about the same level as Hero - not a top 10, but could be considered for top 20 or 25. I think the end was rushed, some of of the repentance and rediscovery could have appeared. Mr. Dowd's attempt to shake San was a bit weak, I thought. Did San abandon all things Zen?

(MAYBE) / YAY - let's discuss with Hero and see where they shake out among the others. Patty's right - wide teen appeal. Accessible read even with the many quotes and religion background. I'm with Karrie - would be great to expose/inspire readers to learn more about Buddhism.


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