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This is a heartbreaking yet, at times, hilarious story that is probably more real than we know. The main character, Ivan, is wicked smart, sarcastic, and riddled with fears (as he should be living institutionalized his whole life). Yet, so many of his fears are common to life and growing up. His description of life in the hospital and the other residents were horrifying and hilarious, reminding us that sometimes things are so bad you have to laugh. My only criticism of this book is that I don't think a whole, prolonged scene about oral sex is appropriate material for a young adult book.
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Ivan is a 17-year-old orphan in Belarus, and he lives in a home for kids affected by the 1986 accident at Chernobyl. While Ivan is severely deformed, he is brilliant, insightful, rude and sarcastic - and then he falls in love. This funny, dysfunctional, brilliant, beautiful coming-of-age story is both heart-breaking and heartwarming. Stop whatever you are doing right now and order this book. Trust me.
AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY