Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan
Publication: April 18th 2017
The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets Revenge of the Nerds in this tale of a teen misfit who seeks to take down the bro next door, but ends up falling for his enemy’s sister and uncovering difficult truths about his family in the process.
Tom Grendel lives a quiet life—writing in his notebooks, mowing lawns for his elderly neighbors, and pining for Willow, a girl next door who rejects the “manic-pixie-dream” label. But when Willow’s brother, Rex (the bro-iest bro ever to don a jockstrap), starts throwing wild parties, the idyllic senior citizens’ community where they live is transformed into a war zone. Tom is rightfully pissed—his dad is an Iraq vet, and the noise from the parties triggers his PTSD—so he comes up with a plan to end the parties for good. But of course, it’s not that simple.
One retaliation leads to another, and things quickly escalate out of control, driving Tom and Willow apart, even as the parties continue unabated. Add to that an angsty existential crisis born of selectively reading his sister’s Philosophy 101 coursework, a botched break-in at an artisanal pig farm, and ten years of unresolved baggage stemming from his mother’s death…and the question isn’t so much whether Tom Grendel will win the day and get the girl, but whether he’ll survive intact.
This was such a refreshing read. The narrative was really wonderful and the characters really made this book special.
Grendel’s Guide to Love and War started off great. Even from the first few pages, I really loved it. I don’t often find books that made me laugh out loud but Grendel’s Guide did. The first or second chapter had me laughing like crazy.
The main character, Tom Grendel, was so well written and such a wonderful person. His father is a veteran and suffers from PTSD and Tom was so willing to take care of him. This book had realistic family dynamics and I really appreciated that.
Overall, this was a great read. I loved the characters and the representation of PTSD. It’s very well written and the plot was really fun.