Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Love: Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze

MILO is the funny and poignant story, told through text and cartoons, of a 13 year old boy’s struggle to reconnect with the loss that hit the reset button on his life. Loveable geek Milo Cruikshank finds reasons for frustration at every turn, like people who carve Halloween pumpkins way too soon (the pumpkins just rot and get lopsided). The truth is – ever since his mother died there’s not much Milo likes anymore. Now, instead of the kitchen being full of music, his whole house has been filled with Fog. Nothing’s the same. Not his Dad. Not his sister. And definitely not him. In love with the girl he sneezed on the first day of school and best pals with Marshall, the “One Eyed Jack” of friends, Milo copes with being the new kid (again) as he struggles to survive the school year that is filled with reminders of what his life “used to be."


I don't read a log of MG. But when I had a chance to listen to Alan Silberberg talk about this book during a panel at SCBWI LA, I ran to the bookstore the second the panel was over to pick it up.

This book was awarded the Sid Fleischmann Humor Award at the conference this year, so I knew it would be funny. I mean, it has all of these cute little cartoons! It must be cute and sweet and silly, right? Well, it is. But it has so much more depth than that, and it's the depth that had me running to the bookstore, and it's the depth that had be sobbing on the plane as I read through this amazing book.

Yes, Milo is adjusting to life at a new school and a crush on a girl and all of the antics that come with that territory. But he's also adjusting to life without his mother, who died of cancer four years before. And Milo's observations about life without his mom and the impact that loss has had on his dad, his family, and himself...oh man. It's impossible to read this book without shedding a tear for Milo's loss and heartbreak.

This book manages to be both hilariously funny and heartbreakingly sad. Sometimes right there on the same page. It's the kind of book that you hug to your chest when you finish, and you make a list of the special people in your life you want to share it with. It captures all of those truths about life, both the irreverent and the painful, and it does it in a way that stays with you long after you are done with it. I loved Milo, and I hope everyone takes some time to get to know this sweet and thoughtful little guy.

10 comments:

  1. I caught Alan's piece for WriteOnCon and really loved what he had to say. Just reading him talk about his inspiration for the story had me tearing up, so I can't imagine how the actual book must be.

    Definitely going to read it soon.

    EJ

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  2. Ever since I saw his talk with Liesa Abrams I've been dying to read this. I wonder if Borders still has it...

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  3. I'm starting to read more middle-grade now that my daughter is that age. It's great sharing books with her. I've been hearing lots of good buzz about Milo.

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  4. So adding this to my Amazon wishlist now! Great review.

    Hello from the campaign trail!

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  5. Hello! Thank you for this book review. This is the 3rd or 4th time I've read a GLOWING review about Milo.

    Cheers from a fellow campaigner!

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  6. Sounds like a great book! I love when books can mix in a little comic relief when dealing with tough subjects like death.

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  7. Wow! you did a great job selling me on this book. Funny and heartbreaking, truths about life for kids (and adults) - adding to the list now.

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  8. Yay! So glad you read this. It's so fantastic.

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  9. I - LOVE - THIS - BOOK! I just downloaded it on my Kindle so I can read it to my class on my Smartboard. They'll be able to see all the wonderful drawings as I read it. I don't know if I laughed or cried more in this wonderful book. Alan Silberberg ROCKS.

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  10. Jessica - thank you for the kind words for MILO (and thanks to all of you who have responded to Jessica's post too!) As I said at the conference - it was always my goal to let Milo's story combine sadness with humor - because suffering loss doesn't have to be just a sad story. I really appreciate that you took the time to post about your experience reading my book. And it was so nice to meet you at the Pajama Party!

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