Grendel's Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan


Anyone brave enough to write a young adult realistic fiction novel based on Beowulf deserves my respect. The author who writes such a story well enough to actually capture young adult interest deserves high praise. Although I can’t speak definitively for young readers, I think Kaplan’s first YA novel is a success.

Tom Grendel lives a quiet life with his father in a neighborhood filled with elderly widows. He is content with mowing the neighborhood lawns to build his college fund and keeping a low profile. When the two old ladies next door move out and their grand niece and nephew move in, Tom’s life begins to fall apart. Rex Rothgar immediately starts nightly partying that aggravates Tom’s father’s PTSD. Can Tom stop the parties while retaining the interest of Rex’s sister Willow?

Both humorous and profound, Grendel’s Guide to Love and War is an entertaining look at the life of a quirky and loveable teen. I would recommend the book to older readers because of one ‘almost’ sex scene--really a peripheral scene and completely unnecessary, but included--so be warned.

Recommended ages--15 and up

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