Smiles to Go

Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli
Will Tuppance has it all figured out. Saturday night is Monopoly with his best friends, Mi-Su and BT,  star parties in the fall when the stars are shining at their best, and trying his hardest  to avoid his annoying, black jelly bean thrower out, loud mouthed little sister, Tabby. Everything is going according to plan, that is, until he finds out the proton has died.

As if the proton dying wasn’t enough to handle, Will realizes that he likes Mi-Su, not just as a friend, and starts to wonder, since she kissed both him and BT (separately of course) who she likes more. Will finds himself  questioning everything, even his own existence. You see, when Mi-Su informed him that the proton died, a little part of Will Tuppance died too. As his world slowly turns upside down, Will finding everything out of balance – his best friends are kissing or not kissing (he isn’t really sure), and he is even seeking love advice from the next door neighbor – the five – year – old next door neighbor.

Will has some frightening revelations of life. Slowly he comes to terms that if the proton can be destroyed and cannot live forever, that he can’t live forever either – not even spiritually. What will it take to wake Will up from his scheduled life? Unfortunately, it takes a dying proton and a near death experience to wake Will up and force him to throw away routine and to welcome living life as it comes. 

Smiles to Go is written in true Jerry Spinelli style – it’s catchy, and one hundred percent character driven. Spinelli has created a set of characters that enhance and  shape Will into who his is, and who he is supposed to be. All of them were well-developed and add depth, overall to this book. Smiles to Go is full of plot turns that the reader can never expect. A great feature to is that, like many other Spinelli books, chapters aren’t governed by chapter restrictions. Each part of Will’s story is marked off by PD13 – Proton Death 13 days since. This quirky bit shows readers just how important the Proton’s death is to the story and to Will. 

This book is solidly written. It’s a straight forward quick read that grabs attention from the very beginning. Begging reader’s to guess at what makes Will tick, and eventually what happens to him when the proton dies. Admittedly, this is a great book for guys!  Though, let’s be honest – anyone could enjoy this true Spinelli classic.

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