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In the Path of Falling Objects Paperback – 12 Oct 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (12 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312659296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312659295
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14.5 x 3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,101,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Intense and dark; almost gratuitous violence 28 April 2010
By thebookwormsuggests - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Brothers Jonah and Simon head out across the desert to find their father who is about to be released from prison in Arizona. Their mother has been gone for days, weeks even, perhaps, and their older brother is fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. It is 1970.

Enter Mitch and Lilly, a man and a girl, who pick the two hitchhikers up in a stylish and out-of-place convertible. Jonah is immediately drawn to the beautiful and flirtatious Lilly but feels wary of the unpredictable Mitch. Simon, on the other hand, is quick to please Mitch, enjoying his rakish intensity.

As Jonah struggles to put family first, he finds himself pitted against a man more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. The two boys soon find themselves hostage to the psychotic Mitch and they risk their lives to save Lilly and each other.

And then, of course, there is the gun.

Andrew Smith's In the Path of Falling Objects is an intense and nerve-wracking novel that intersperses Jonah's account of his and Simon's journey with letters from their older brother in Vietnam. The book begins with a shocking murder and the feeling of being trapped, of impending doom, of fear only increases the deeper you wade into this book. The tension is almost too much--I wish Andrew Smith had allowed for some space in the novel to breathe a sigh of relief and relax--but it all builds to a heart-stopping climax that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.

Be warned: there is much violence and death; Mitch is one of the most incredibly disturbing characters I have come across in YA fiction. Readers who like gritty, intense novels will want to give this a try. Everyone else should read this knowing it just might give you nightmares.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Path is one hell of a road trip and Smith executes it beautifully. 4 May 2011
By Lady Reader's Bookstuff - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the Path of Falling Objects

I don't think that Andrew Smith can write a novel that I wouldn't love. He has a unique writing style that is all his own. In The Path of Falling Objects is Andrew Smith's 2nd novel that I've read to date.

In the very beginning of the story we get a huge shocker, then we are left to let it digest for a little bit. I think Smith likes to wow us with an introduction like that. The kind that just kind of sneaks up on you and POW! Then nothing. No explanation until he feels the need to give us one. He's smooth and in total control of what he writes.Then we're introduced to the brothers. Jonah is 16 and Simon is 14.

"Our brother fell apart in the war.
Mother fell apart after that.
Then we had to leave."

Jonah vows to take care of Simon, always has. Simon has always resented Jonah for this very reason or because Jonah was trying to take on more of a paternal role than a brotherly role.
Smith describes in detail the destitute situation the boys are left in. They have nothing. Only each other.

Their brother Matthew had been sent to Vietnam to serve in the Army. Their father was in prison.
"Their mother had gone off with one of her men friends for Georgia, or Texas, or someplace, and Simon and Jonah had been left behind, alone in the crumbling shack of a home. The electricity had been gone for days."

They had a destination. They began their journey walking to Arizona to hopefully find Matthew once again. Taking with them the very few items they could carry in a backpack including all of the letters that Matthew had sent to Jonah from Vietnam and a notebook that Jonah would draw in daily.

Never would the brothers believe the road trip from hell they are about to embark on. Accepting a ride from the most beautiful girl on the entire planet, Lilly, and sociopath, Mitch was the worst thing they could have done on this adventure from New Mexico to Arizona to find the rest of their existing family.

There were so many great things about this book. One was the multiple viewpoints. Even though there are multiple viewpoints, the alternating viewpoints are still being told by Jonah. Every now and then you get a sneak peak inside Mitch's head and that is a very disturbing place to be.

Another thing are the letters written from Matthew to Jonah. You could see how his mental state slipped, how hard it must have been for him. The descriptions that Smith gave in the letters were so real...
The letters for me meant a great deal.

Also, the relationship between Jonah and Simon. Obviously, just like brothers they are going to fight and argue, but when you are left with only each other, you're love is stronger than nothing else. Smith really was able to show that blossom - in a manly (boyish) sorta way.

I'm not going to give away the ending and or what happens to any of the characters because I want you to buy the book and read it, so I'm ending my review here. I hope I was able to give this book some of the justice that it deserves.
Excellent and emotional 7 Aug 2012
By Amazing book reviews by starr - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith

Feiwel and Friends - Sept 29, 2009
Facebook: Yes
Twitter: @marburyjack
Source: Own
Rating: Excellent and emotional read

I participated in the Andrew Smith Saturdays, hosted by: Roof Beam Reader, Not Now I'm Reading, Smash Attack Reads and Lady Reader's Bookstuff

Jonah and Simon has had a pretty hard life. Their older brother, Matthew, is deployed in the Vietnam War. Their father is in a prison and their selfish mother has abandoned them to life and their own devices. In an attempt to dodge the system and to stay together, they take off where they hope to reunite with Matthew and see their father. Along the way they meet some interesting people and discover what it means to be family and what it means to be brothers.

This is the first time that I've been on one of Andrew Smith's journeys and I have to admit that I an really impressed. Jonah and Simon's story is heartbreaking, torturous and revealing. They meet an array of characters that all tug at you for attention. Mitch and Lilly are the first pair that they encounter. Though Mitch and Lilly offer them a ride, it comes at a price. As Mitch's craziness and Lilly's manipulation is revealed, Jonah and Simon learn just how dangerous their situation has become. Even at the end of the book I am still sitting on the middle of the fence about Lilly. She is definitely manipulative but she is also a victim of her situation and Mitch. I wish that I could say that I really loved or really hated her, but I can't. Her emotions and self doubt bled through the pages , she was as undecided as I was, and it came through.
Mitch is crazy with whole dose of psychotic. I could elaborate, say it in a different way but it would be the same. He's not all there. This makes him interesting in a gross fascination kind of way. He's unpredictable and dangerous, which makes him all the more alluring. Just when you think that nothing good could befall Jonah and Simon, Dalton (and his family) and Walker come into the picture. Dalton and Walker are then encircled in the madness of Mitch. Walker and Dalton reintroduces hope to the story. It wasn't the quick band-aid type of hope. It was the type that gave Jonah and Simon the strength to find each other. Without Walker and Dalton I believe their situation and Mitch would have destroyed them both.

Recommendation: This is a great introduction to Andrew Smith's work. Smith is definitely an author to watch.

What's Next? In July we read Stick and in Augst we will be reading Ghost Medicine

Always Shine,
Starr K
There is no doubt that this book will stay with you. It's gritty, disturbing and emotional, but it also brings about hope. 5 July 2012
By A. Hoffenberg - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First Impressions:

"Our brother fell apart in the war.
Mother fell apart after that.
Then we had to leave."

Wow. This book opens up on a bleak scenario. Simon and Jonah are up shits creek, so to speak. Ma is gone, dad is incarcerated, older brother, Matthew, is in Vietnam fighting for his country. These two are as poor as dirt and Jonah has decided it is time to leave and find their father. They set out with $10 in their pocket, some tattered clothes and Matthew's letters. The journey they endure is hellish beyond comprehension and their bond is tested to the limit.

Characters: The characterization in this novel is out of this world. Simon and Jonah experience tension, as do any siblings, but their bond is strong due to their life experiences. Simon is the youngest. Jonah and Matthew have a special relationship, which you experience via letters from Matthew. I feel Simon was protected from reality and possibly felt isolated. There may have been some attachment issues too, since mom was MIA most of the time and dad in jail.

Due to these circumstances, I think Simon easily connected with Mitch, the man who picks these two young boys up on the side of the road and offers them a ride to Arizona. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Mitch is a master manipulator and psychopath of epic proportions. Mitch's passenger, Lilly, is a young pregnant woman who is also on her way to a specific location. She brings great conflict to this odd quartet, and you are never quite sure if she is trustworthy. Mitch is incredibly fascinating for someone like me. He likely had antisocial personality disorder and was obsessed with Lilly, as seen by his serious jealousy when she shows some interest in Jonah.

Matthew, who we only meet via his letters from the war, was likely the most incredible piece of this story. His letters start out happy, engaging, purposeful. But as the story progresses, his letter become increasingly depressing, anxious and a little psychotic. You can literally feel the war slowly killing this healthy, vibrant young man, and it was hard to swallow. Matthew's descent into madness parallels the tragic trek that Jonah and Simon endure, and it so. well. done. This connection is creepy and sad as hell.

World-Building: The world-building occurs on the road, as the quartet from hell take off a journey that leaves a path of death and destruction. A few new characters are introduced that add to the richness of the environment and situation. The narration jumps around the characters, so we get many different perspectives. Mitch's chapters were the most disturbing. As he slowly becomes less lucid and more insane in the membrane, you will experience chills down your spine! As I stated above, the letters from Matthew were short but such a creative, powerful, and important aspect to the story.

Lasting Impressions: There is no doubt that this book will stay with you. It's gritty, disturbing and emotional, but it also brings about hope. Andrew Smith gets under your skin and provides you with an experience. I truly find him to be an exceptional storyteller.

Favorite Scene:

"I pictured the first time we saw the girl, breezing past us in that Lincoln, blond hair whirling around her, her glasses tipped down, her smile, the stroke of her fingers. The teasing.

Simon tumbled the meteorite around in the sweat of his hand. I wondered what it would be like to look down at the earth, to fall, to burn brilliantly in the air like the image of the girl who passed by, kicking back dust like cosmic ash, and could she see that, now; was she up there above us?

I wondered.

We closed our eyes."
Review for book 2 Mar 2012
By Chris - Published on
I've always wanted to go to Arizona because I heard it was very exquisite but ever since I started reading In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith it kept stating that the terrain was very desert like a desert and very hot. Also in the book there are two boys who are on their way to a road trip from agony. They are on a road trip all because their dad is in jail and they want to meet him for when he gets out. The main points I want to cover includes the connections between Jonah and his eldest brother Mathew who is serving in Vietnam, a brief summary of the book, and who the main characters are and a description of them.
I really liked this book but at first I was ready to put it back but after I started to read a few pages it really started to pick up and after a few pages and soon I couldn't put the book down. I really liked how every chapter started with a letter from Mathew explaining what it is like to be out in Vietnam and how it explains what it looks like out there and how he and Jonah are connecting their thoughts and sending them back and forth. The letters from Mathew explain to the readers that they are two brothers that love each other and want to stay connected to one another until they meet each other in person.
The last thing I want to talk about includes the main people in the book and what role they play in this amazing book. The main person in this book I would say would have to be Jonah and his younger brother Simon. These two kids go out of their house in search of their father who is I a prison just South of Arizona. They start walking in that direction and hook up with Mitch and Fiona. From there it would be a ride from he**. Mitch starts to like Simon and Jonah until he wants them gone and soon plans an attack on them that would soon change their lives forever.
In conclusion, I really thought that this was a very outstanding book and I knew right away that when I seen this book that is a one of a kind.
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