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Cover image for A taxonomy of love : a novel
Format:
Title:
A taxonomy of love : a novel
ISBN:
9781419725418
Publication:
New York, NY : Amulet Books, [2018]
Physical Description:
330 pages : charts ; 22 cm
Summary:
"The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it's ... something at first sight. He knows she's special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of 'friend' gets messier, too. Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn't always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it's this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful."--Amazon.com.
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TEEN Allen, R.
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Summary

Summary

The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it's . . . something at first sight. He knows she's special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of "friend" gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn't always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it's this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

|The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it's . . . something at first sight. He knows she's special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of "friend" gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn't always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it's this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.


Author Notes

Rachael Allen is the author of 17 First Kisses (HarperTeen, 2014) and The Revenge Playbook (HarperTeen, 2015). She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children, and two sled dogs. http://rachaelallenwrites.blogspot.com/. |Rachael Allen is the author of 17 First Kisses and The Revenge Playbook . She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children, and two sled dogs. Visit Allen at www.rachaelallenwrites.blogspot.com.


Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Spencer has Tourette's syndrome, a perfect older brother he can't live up to, and a love of trying to understand the world by creating his own scientific taxonomies for everything and everyone around him. Then Hope moves in next door. This story takes readers from Spencer's seventh grade to his senior year of high school; the teens become best friends, fight, and their friendship changes into something more. They deal with tragedies, relationships, and growing up. This charming romance skims across time, often dipping only briefly into each year, yet it doesn't feel rushed or forced. While the romance is at the center of the novel, the other relationships and characters' growth are well developed. The multiple plotlines and character arcs lead to a delightful multifaceted novel. Further depth is added by using different formats of storytelling effectively, such as prose, emails, IM chats, and more. Tourette's syndrome is part of Spencer's life but its portrayal doesn't overwhelm the narrative. Instead, the chronic illness is handled with sympathy and empowerment. The sexual content, which occurs primarily through discussions of teens having sex and a description of arousal from a teenager's perspective, isn't gratuitous and is handled in an age-appropriate manner. VERDICT A multilayered and charming novel that blends humor, romance, tragedy, and other universal coming-of-age themes; a strong choice for most collections.-Elizabeth Nicolai, -Anchorage Public Library, AK © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Over the span of six years, Spencer and his neighbor Hope oscillate between being best friends and virtual strangers. When they first meet, he's a gawky 13-year-old with Tourette's syndrome, and she's a fearless wannabe adventurer. Spencer provides the lion's share of the narration, accompanied by flowchart-like taxonomies that he uses to try to chart and define their intense bond. Intermittent passages from Hope-usually conversations with her older sister, Janie-flesh out her side of the story. Spencer's anxiety seeps from the page as his everyday interactions comingle with his intrusive thoughts. But Hope's life is far from perfect: she falls for Spencer's older brother, grapples with a death in the family, and enters a self-destructive phase of grief just as Spencer is gaining social traction among his classmates as a wrestler. Allen (The Revenge Playbook) presents an honest look at adolescent attraction and life with a neurological disorder in a story populated by fully believable characters who are trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in the world. Ages 13-up. Agent: Susan Hawk, Upstart Crow. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Feeling limited by his Tourette's syndrome and his "perfect" older brother, Spencer creates order using humorous charts. As timing, sibling rivalry, and loss propel Spencer and his new friend, Hope, in and out of each other's lives during high school, Spencer struggles for self-acceptance in the chaos. A taut, moving, and multilayered portrayal of friendship and grief. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Two teens chronicle six years of their unpredictable relationships.Despite his habit of sorting people into categories, Spencer Barton, an awkward white boy with Tourette's syndrome, doesn't fit in anywhere. He doesn't share his father and older brother's love of hunting, and his tics make him a bully magnet. But when Hope Birdsong, a "magical" white girl, moves in next door, she becomes hisprotector? Friend? Girlfriend? As they grow up in the insular Georgia town of Peach Valley, Spencer details their amorphous, contentious, on-and-off relationship from ages 13 to 19. His self-deprecating narrative, supplemented with snarky flow charts, alternates with Hope's pensive text messages and handwritten letters to her older sister. As Spencer and Hope navigate their feelings for each other, their relationships with friends and familytinged with parental disappointment, sibling rivalry, and griefevolve. The long time frame occasionally condenses important events, resulting in some clunky expository dialogue and abrupt character development. However, fast-forwarding also allows Spencer and Hope to reflect (albeit somewhat heavy-handedly) on their maturing views of love, sex, friendship, disability, racism (at the expense of a briefly featured black secondary character), and loss. The ending provides closure, but it feels rather neat after the lessons learned from their messy ups and downs.Patient readers will want to follow Spencer and Hope's tangled relationship just to see where it finally ends up. (Romance. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Spencer has been able to see directly into Hope's bedroom window from his own since she moved to town the summer before seventh grade. From that vantage, they've been in the right place to fall for each other, but never at the right time. That hasn't kept Spencer from annotating, in detailed, drawn taxonomies, their ever-changing relationship throughout middle and high school: Hope as the only girl who likes to climb trees with him. Hope as the one person who doesn't make fun of his Tourette's. Hope as the object of his affection when she's dating other people, but who is emotionally unreachable when she isn't. In this sincerely charming account of one friendship in flux over the course of six years eons in adolescence the pair wrestle with their relationship. Simple summer crush? Tireless support through family strife and personal illness? Lovelorn confidante? Through sparkling prose (and Spencer's clever doodles), Allen depicts how debasing unrequited love can feel, and just how consuming that connection can be when shared at long last.--Walters Wright, Lexi Copyright 2017 Booklist