Summary: An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize–if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri’s 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.
What a joy this book was! For me, this was one of those reads where I didn’t want it to end, didn’t want to leave the world of the story behind, and I wanted to just hang out with the characters. Yuri is such a winning and relatable character – and that’s saying something, considering that he is a physics prodigy who’s never done any of the normal things most seventeen-year-olds have done, like kiss a girl or go to gym class. The secondary characters are just as three-dimensional, from the older scientists suspicious of Yuri’s abilities to teen artist Dovie and her hippie family, who expand Yuri’s horizons all the way to American swearing and the prom. This is my favorite kind of book: the kind where the story proceeds directly from the characters and the way they spin in and out of each other’s orbits. When the asteroid hurtling toward Earth turns out to be much more dangerous than originally thought, it’s Yuri’s teenage audacity as much as his brilliant mind that gives the world a fighting a chance. Yuri has to make choices at a grand, world-saving scale, and also at a much more intimate one, as he learns just how far he is willing to go to do the right thing.
It says a lot about what a relatable protagonist @KatieWritesBks has created that I am rooting for Yuri to send an antimatter pulse at Earth
— Kathy MacMillan (@kathys_quill) June 10, 2016
LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA is out now.