Review: The Schwa Was Here

Author: Neal Shusterman

Age:  Middle Grade and up

Genre: erm, not sure…

{Click here} to read summary from Goodreads.

Everybody wants to be noticed.  Even the moody emo kids and the lunch table loners.  Unfortunately being noticed was precisely Calvin Schwa’s problem.  Told from the POV of one Anthony Bonabo, is a tale of facing fears (like missing mothers, chainsaw-weilding butchers, and the crazy old kook upstairs), even if they are just founded on rumors, and building unusual friendships, and helping others find their place in the world.

Initially, I will admit, I was drawn to the cover (I can’t help it, I’m an artist), and then to the title.  It took me back to whatever grade I was in, learning phonetics.  The “schwa” is the name for the most common sound in the English language, and is indicated in phonetic spelling as an upsidedown lowercase e, as seen in the author’s name.  Schusterman goes into the importance of all this in the book, but it is a very effective hook! And besides, DOGS!! Now usually dogs on the cover of a book are an instant sign that the dog is going to die. (No More Dead Dogs, Gordon Korman) but fret not! the dogs are fine.

Getting into the story was easy, in fact, I was hooked just reading the jacket flap.  Ever on the hunt for good books from a guy’s POV, I was going in with high hopes.  Our POV character, Anthony, is full of quips and clever comebacks, and I love witty characters.  This, I feel, not only serves the reader with an entertaining dialogue, but it also serves as part of the foundation of Anthony’s personal character.  It evidences a tenacity that he doesn’t realize he has until he needs it, changing the way he views himself and the way he interacts with those who need him.   As the individual characters develop, they each earn their place in the story, each becoming more endearing and the story goes.  There are no extra, unnecessary characters to confuse the plot.  There are, however, some delightful comic relief characters. All in all it was a delightful read, with heart and guts and a bright ending.  In addition to the compelling story line and quick succession of adventures, each chapter ends and the next is titled in a way that makes this an easy ‘up till you finish’ read.

And I don’t mean to oversell here, but I really enjoyed it!


Content Advisory:
Language: 0
Sexual: 1
Minor kissing, hand-holding
Violence: 0
Other: 0

Awesome Content scores means this books gets an * on our Archives list!!  Highly recommend!


>>> Neal Schusterman is the author of the Unwind Dystology, as well as Bruiser (soon to be reviewed) and many other books.  For a full list, here is his website!




2 thoughts on “Review: The Schwa Was Here

  1. Aren’t moments like that great?! It was a really great book, not too heavy, not to dramatic… I think I enjoyed a break from all the crazy stories out there 🙂

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