cover image As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth

As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth

Lynne Rae Perkins, Greenwillow, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-187090-3

When 16-year-old Ry discovers that his archeological summer camp has been canceled, he steps off the train to call his grandfather only to see the train pull away. So begins Ry's implausible and existential journey at the center of Newbery Award–winner Perkins's (Criss Cross) contemplative and energetic novel. To compound the situation, Ry's grandfather has suffered a concussion and is missing, and his parents' Caribbean sailing trip has been fraught with problems. Ry stumbles into Del, a handy, sympathetic man who decides to drive Ry home to Wisconsin, becoming a quirky mentor. Del remains unflappable as he extends their road trip to find Ry's parents, setting off a series of riotous misadventures. A humorous additional narrative, "Dogs," told in comic strip format, mimics Del's and Ry's story, and continues Perkins's experimentation with form. Her observations and turns of phrase ("The shoes were a metaphor for the decline of western civilization: crappy and glitzy and barely useful, but pretty comfortable.... Ry didn't think that thought specifically, but he felt as dispirited as if he had") are as unexpected and delightful as the travels she weaves together. Ages 12–up. (May)