Gae Polisner The Pull of Gravity
208 pp. Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan). 2011 ISBN: 978-0-374-37193-7
Full Disclosure: ARC received from author
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Summary (From the publisher): “Nick Gardner is having a rough year. His brother’s a jerk, his big fat dad has hit the road, and his sort-of best friend is dying. When a feverish hallucination puts Nick on a collision course with a water tower, a television news crew, and one Jaycee Amato, a girl with Siberian Husky eyes, his whole life begins to change. Together, they set out on a secret journey to keep a promise to their dying friend. Will they accomplish what they set out for, or merely discover the beauty of Steinbeck, the crappy truth about plans and a few small facts about gravity? The Pull of Gravity is a coming-of-age story about first love, friendship, and the true nature of family.”
The Pull of Gravity is sweet, honest and touching. It has moments that will make you laugh out loud and even become teary. Those teaching Of Mice and Men will want to read this and add it to their library, if not their curriculum. John Steinbeck’s novel isn’t part of our curriculum in my district, but I will be including The Pull of Gravity in my classroom library.
My favorite character is the unique and completely honest Jaycee Amato. Her witty dialogue and comebacks with Nick had me giggling multiple times throughout the book. She’s the one that introduces Nick to Of Mice and Men by reading it to him as they head out on their journey to fulfill the request of The Scoot, their dying friend. They’re looking for Scoot’s father (without telling their parents), and the chances of finding him are slim, but Jaycee is prepared and optimistic. You’ve gotta love a girl who can plan an entire secret trip and stay optimistic while doing so. 🙂
The trip itself is fun to read because so many aspects of the story unravel and come together there. Besides Nick and Jaycee looking for Scoot’s dad, we watch Nick take chances (on love and his family) and become more independent. And even though Scoot isn’t on this journey with him, we get to find out more about his life and character. Plus, there’s all of his great Yoda and Star Wars references. Steinbeck and Yoda together?! AWESOME! If you’ve read John Green’s Paper Towns (I’m thinking of Quentin’s journey to find Margo), you’re sure to enjoy The Pull of Gravity.
A great element to the story are the emails Nick receives from his dad. Nick and his dad lack a strong relationship because his dad has pretty much checked out as a father. The emails appear in between some chapters and give us insight that we otherwise wouldn’t have. We know why Nick is upset with his dad, but I wish these feelings were more developed before we read the emails. I also wish we could have read more of his emails simply because they’re a cool element to the story.
I definitely recommend reading this. Girls will enjoy the relationship between Jaycee and Nick. Boys will love the Star Wars references and will easily relate to Nick. Teachers and librarians will, of course enjoy the story, but will also appreciate the ties to Of Mice and Men and Gae’s wonderful writing! Congrats on your debut, Gae, and I eagerly look forward to more of your books!
P.S. Don’t you just LOVE the final cover?! 😀