Category Archives: Author: Blake Nelson

Destroy All Cars

Destroy All Cars
Blake Nelson

Anyone have a crowbar?

Anyone have a crowbar?

Quick Stats:

Page Count: 224
Age Range: 14 and up
Year: 2011
Genre: Realistic

James Hoff is a high-schooler who HATES cars for what they do to the environment, and spends his time writing essays railing against the “American consumer culture” and about how the human race has doomed itself but is too stupid to change. He also spends his time thinking about his ex-girlfriend Sadie who, though a more pragmatic idealist, he feels isn’t doing nearly enough to help change the world. But their paths will cross again in this love story about idealism and finding the ideal person, which may not be as easy as you might think.

This book is an anti-consumerism love story about a radical high-school student trying to find a way to maintain his idealism in a “world gone wrong”. If you’re looking for a cool, topical book with a hilariously sarcastic protagonist who provides plenty of thinly-veiled hysteria, or just a funny book about a radical high-schooler trying to forge his own path, definitely check this book out. 

-Mr. Dave

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Filed under Age Range: 14 and up, Author: Blake Nelson, Genre: Realistic, Page Count: 200-300, Year: 2010s

Paranoid Park

Paranoid Park
Blake Nelson

I'd be paranoid too.

I’d be paranoid too.

Quick Stats:

Page Count: 180
Age Range: 14 and up
Year: 2008
Genre: Realistic

Paranoid Park is the story of a 16-year-old skateboarder named Alex who, after spending an evening at Portland’s underground skate park, accidentally kills a security guard while trying to hop a train with a local “streeter” kid. Alex spends the rest of the book holding onto his secret, running through all the possible scenarios in his mind, whie the local police department investigates the guard’s death after originally ruling that there was no foul play involved. Meanwhile Alex deals with the rest of his teenage drama, with his parents getting a divorce and his girlfriend deciding that it’s about time they took the next step and lost their virginity together. Will he let his secret slip? Who could he even trust to tell if he wanted to? How can he possibly lead a normal life with such a dark past to haunt him?

This is a pretty penetrating look at a teenager holding on to a very dark secret while trying to navigate the path of high-school drama. The writing is fairly simple, the conversations short and blunt, and the first-person style doesn’t overcomplicate the narrator’s thoughts or emotions. If you’re looking for a darker book about what it’s like for a confused high-schooler dealing with more than he can handle, this is a great book for you. (The author has described it as “Crime and Punishment” for young adults. Also, it was made into a pretty gritty movie.)

-Mr. Dave

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Filed under Age Range: 14 and up, Author: Blake Nelson, Genre: Realistic, Page Count: 100-200, Year: 2000s