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Rats Saw God

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  3,030 Ratings  ·  403 Reviews
In hopes of graduating, Steve York agrees to complete a hundred-page writing assignment which helps him to sort out his relationship with his famous astronaut father and the events that changed him from promising student to troubled teen.
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Francesca
I thought this book was really good, and I think it's one of the better YA books. I think it's easy to tell that this was pre-Veronica Mars and Party Down, though. You can see the same writing style and a lot of similarities between this book and Veronica Mars but I think Veronica Mars feels more advanced and you can tell he improved on his weaker areas by the time it came to writing the show. Of course, with a show you have more episodes and more time to flesh characters out and to make the vie ...more
Wendy
Sep 17, 2007 Wendy rated it it was amazing
This is one of the realest YA books I've read (helped, of course, by the fact that the narrator is from my generation). I've never empathized so much with a teenage boy, and all the characterizations made me feel "Yes, I knew this person." The descriptions of high school are spot-on. It's also laugh-out-loud funny in many places. I was impressed at how well the author seemed to understand my micro-generation, if that's a word (kids who were in high school when Kurt Cobain died).
Larissa
Now clearly (clearly), we all remember Rob Thomas as the creator of dearly-beloved teen-noir series Veronica Mars and as such, were collectively delighted to find that before providing us with savvy, chronically suspicious proto-feminist heroines armed with one-liners, tazers, and bulldogs, Thomas had a successful stint as a writer of the YA variety. (The title of this offering, Rats Saw God was, coincidentally, used in a second season episode of V. Mars to very different effect.)

So I know you'
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
4.25 Stars. Whether you're an old hag like me who grew up watching 90210 or you're a young'in "liking" anything to do with TFiOS, this is one to add to your "to read" list. Steve is a pot-head who is about to fail his senior year. If he can complete a supplemental writing assignment for English, he'll pass. The only limitation to the assignment - write about something he knows. After a severe case of writer's block, Steve chooses to write the history of his high school years. He tells how he has ...more
Ela
Mar 15, 2013 Ela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Perks of Being a Wallflower fans
"Do you learn to write better in College?"
"It's not so much learning as it is living. You can improve your technique though classes and though reading, but you've got to have some truth to put behind the language...for example it's tough to write about love until you've had your heart broken."


Reminiscent of Perks of Being a Wallflower or Looking For Alaska this novel, written by the innovative creator of Veronica Mars, follows Steve though his high school experience. It started off very unassum
...more
Ellen Gail
I really wanted to love this one! To be clear, it's not a bad book, not by a long shot. It's actually really good. For me, "Rats Saw God" definitely suffered from raised expectations. I mean it's Rob Thomas! Creator of one of my two favorite shows of all time! (The other is Buffy. Don't make me choose between them. I won't.) I know the man can write. He created Veronica, who is so near and dear to my heart. So between the good reviews and getting myself all hyped up, it was inevitable that "Rats ...more
Kurt
Mar 04, 2014 Kurt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I suspect that these days, nearly twenty years after this young adult novel was published, most new readers seek it out because Rob Thomas created the brilliant Veronica Mars series. That's certainly why I looked for it, and why I started reading as a sort of preparation for the upcoming Veronica Mars movie. I can certainly conclude that this book will satisfy Marshmallows, since it's a collection of teenagers who speak a dialect of sarcasm peculiar to that TV show, but I can also recommend it f ...more
christa
I couldn't get into this book until I put it in context. I couldn't understand the cultural references and where today's teens fit into it. I did the obvious and flipped to the publication date:1996. Then it all made sense. And the book became exponentially better. Especially since it takes place in high school, and mid-1990s high schooling is one of my areas of knowledge.

Kurt Cobain references; Sinead ripping up a photo of the pope; the casual dress of a non-girlie girl; the entire Seattle sla
...more
Mr Moore SFHS
Dec 04, 2012 Mr Moore SFHS rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great story that was full of verisimilitude and pathos, both serious and humorous. The narrator (unlike other teenage narrators like the one in The Perks of Being a Wallflower) sounded like an intelligent teenager. I wasn't surprised or shocked by his language usage or big words because that is who his character was.

The humor was what really kept me hooked, and it started right away. Every time I read the slogan for the "Grace Order of Dadaists," or GOD, I chuckled. They made shirts "
...more
Andrew Hicks
Mar 20, 2014 Andrew Hicks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, ya
Waaaay back in 1998, I was in the middle of my senior year of college. I was in love with my best friend, who was also in the middle of her senior year of college. As graduation and the Real World loomed large, we had different coping strategies. Mine was to smoke a bunch of weed and drink, hers was to lose herself in all things teen, from boy-band music to teen movies to YA books. I made fun of her for indulging in all three.

For Christmas she gave me a trade paperback copy of Rats Saw God by
...more
Kate
May 16, 2007 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Veronica Mars fans
I had high expectations for Thomas’s first novel because I’m a fan of Veronica Mars, the teen noir television show he created. Ultimately, I ended up being thankful that he found his voice on the small screen, because he was a bit disappointing as a novelist.

Even so, despite long passages that seemed to serve no purpose in advancing the plot (although they were interesting to read for their own sake), Rats Saw God stands out as a teen classic because of Thomas’s signature wise-cracking, pop-cul
...more
Bethany
Aug 12, 2007 Bethany rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all teenagers
I wish I knew this book existed when I was in high school. The book is about a high school senior who has to write a personal essay in order to graduate. He basically recalls his life up to that point, and in his hindsight he figures out a lot about himself, and life.

This is an excellent read for teens who feel out of place in their world - and what teen doesn't?
Kelly
Jun 02, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5.

Steve, despite being a National Merit Scholar, is in danger of not earning the last English credit he needs to graduate senior year. But his counselor makes him an offer: write his story. Explain what's going on. Get to the truth. After initial hesitance, Steve starts to write.

This is an older book (1996!) but it's so relevant and still speaks to the teen experience today. Steve has an authentic and believable male voice and one which reminded me of so many of the boys I used to work with.

E
...more
Sunil
Jan 07, 2012 Sunil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2005
Rob's debut novel seems to get all the attention; it's the one teachers will use in their classes if they do that sort of thing. And it's definitely a good book. It follows two timestreams: Steve York's senior year in San Diego, and his sophomore and junior years in Houston, when his life went horribly, terribly wrong. We get his first-person narration of the present; the story of Houston is his English project.

It took me fifty to eighty pages to really get into it, honestly. I was having troubl
...more
Kate
May 11, 2007 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngadult
Nobody is more surprised than Steve York when he’s selected as a National Merit finalist. He's trouble. He cuts class. He spends all of his time stoned. And he planted a marijuana seed in his guidance counselor’s fern. That’s today in San Diego. But two years ago in Houston, he was a straight-A student and a member of the most talked about group in school.

When his guidance counselor investigates, he challenges Steve to write a 100-page paper on the topic of his choice in return for a passing En
...more
April Helms
Jan 04, 2008 April Helms rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
A high school senior faces the risk of not graduating, so his guidance counselor offers him an option: write a 100-page paper on any topic Steve chooses. If it passes muster, Steve can graduate. Steven begins to write about his past, realizing how he got to the low point he is at today, and realizing that he can set a better path for the future.

Gritty, with a very “real” feel. There’s a lot of dark humor, including the reason behind the title of the book and Steve planting a marijuana seed in th
...more
emily
Apr 07, 2007 emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: yaliterature
I'm still laughing. Steve is a senior in high school, he's incredibly bright but has given up on all the bull. Skips school, gets high, doesn't talk to his fam- the usual teen angst. But his guidance counselor gives him a chance to graduate without summer school- he has to write a paper- 100 pages- and tell his story. So this book bounces back and forth from senior year (stoner) to sophomore year (A-Student). He was always a non-conformist, as are his friends, but something in him changed. His s ...more
Kate McCartney
I liked this book, okay. I guess I expected more though. The book is touted as an edgy book, likened to Crank by the publisher, but I just didn't find it that edgy. The edge seems to be pot usage, a somewhat frank description of first time teen sex, but nothing so overly risque. what i found to be the edgiest was somewhat downplayed and not even discussed by anyone in the book, POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT, one the teen characters has an affair with a teacher and other than being caught by her boyfrie ...more
kb
Jan 20, 2014 kb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads, ya-reads
Cover art
Let me just note that this is the latest edition of the book (book was published in 1996) so it already knows how to attract its target market SO: Ooh, such art! Such mystery! Such plaid! Such hipster!

In a nutshell
Senior high school dropout Steve writes a 100-pager on his tell-all of why he is flunking out of high school.

Spirit animal
I read this, like, two weeks ago and now I’m all WHERE DID MY MEMORY GO?

And what does that say about the characters, let alone the whole book?

ANYWAY. Okay,
...more
Ariana
Jul 30, 2013 Ariana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let me preface this by saying that Rob Thomas is a fabulous director and his writing on Veronica Mars was top notch.

If i could give this book less than one star I would have. The writing was horrible and the story was mundane.

i'd say the characters were boring but they were so one dimensional that calling them boring would be an insult to boring people.

Some bullet points as this book isn't worth writing a full review of:

1. the phrase "in body if not in spirit" was used at least three times
2. lin
...more
Les
Mar 15, 2016 Les rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Son of the 4th astronaut on the moon rebels against his uptight dad, who he blames for driving his mom away. Steve is an honor student who joins forces with an oddball group of classmates to push Dadism on a Texas school that lives for football; their efforts aren't appreciated. He falls hard for Dub, a girl in their group. They date for a long time but eventually things fall apart. He takes it hard and becomes a slacker, smoking pot, getting fired from his job and barely passing school.

To get a
...more
Garett
Oct 15, 2012 Garett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josh Le
Jan 14, 2013 Josh Le rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Josh by: Mr. Moore
Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas was a great read all around. First off reading goes back and forth between the main character Steve York's Senior year in LA writing a story to pass a graduate, and his Sophomore/Junior year in high school in Texas. It takes you on the journey from a 4.0 student to a pothead that could care less about school, and then changing himself completely.

Rob Thomas is great at writing to teen readers in this novel. He narrates at times like he is talk teen to teen, but then th
...more
Erin
This is a coming of age novel set in the 1990s of a teenage middle class boy in Texas and San Diego. As a child of the 1990's I can see the appeal to this book. There are so many familiar references and feeling of "poor little me" in throughout the book. Reading this book as an adult left less than a positive opinion of the book. The book read more like a spoiled middle class boy who can't deal with his life. He has no realizations of his talents and privilege. I found while reading that I would ...more
Ashley Kelley
Dec 03, 2014 Ashley Kelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rats Saw God is a young adult novel that tells the story of Steve York, a high school senior living in California. This book is set in the 1990s, right in the heart of the grunge era, and gives multiple references to the culture and events of that time - which personally only made this novel even more enjoyable to read, as someone who "grew up" (was a teenager) during the 90s. Steve, once a top student at his previous school, is in jeopardy of not graduating and is given the option of either wri ...more
Pearl
Oct 22, 2012 Pearl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: miller-ya-group
I found this particular short novel interesting but not a favorite genre of mine. In the novel Rats Saw God, the way that Steve York dealt with the disenchantment in life was by smoking pot and drinking. He was really a “bright” and “likable” teenager, but went sour on life because of the divorce of his parents. Even though to some his life outwardly was not all that bad; he lived in a five-bedroom house in a middle-class neighborhood, went to an above average high school, and has a famous fathe ...more
Kerri De
Oct 19, 2013 Kerri De rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rats Saw God is a young adult realistic fiction which follows Steve as he takes on high school from his freshman year to graduation. Steve is faced with not being able to graduate as he is one credit short. As Steve explores his options he is forced to write about what he knows, his experiences growing up, and the struggles he has overcome. Steve’s parents’ divorce has left him with bitter feelings towards to famous astronaut father. When Steve meets Dub his world changes. His focus shifts from ...more
Lorene Frisbie
Oct 15, 2012 Lorene Frisbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book! Four stars. Steve is the protagonist in this story. His parents divorce when he is entering high school. He has a rather toxic [on Steve's part] relationship with his father [the astronaut], blaming him for the divorce. He turns to drugs and his grades begin to fail until he is challenged by his school counselor to write a paper so he can pass English and graduate. He takes on the challenge. This novel weaves through his high school years, Texas and California where he attends school ...more
Rebekah
Nov 22, 2014 Rebekah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really enjoyable read! Rats Saw God is the story of a high school senior who is failing his classes and in order to graduate he must write a hundred page essay on any topic, so he chooses to write about his own experiences including the divorce of his parents and his relationship with his first girlfriend, Dub (short for Wanda). The story jumps back and forth a lot between different memories and present day, but the nonlinear structure is what I enjoyed most about the reading experien ...more
Stacy Wines
True to life and what I recall of high school and the struggles of a divorced family, first loves and balancing friendship. Rob Thomas adds just the right amount of humor that had me chuckling throughout, but did not take away from the seriousness of Steve York's problems.

This is a must read for any teen struggling through high school. Steve, through the encouragement of his counselor, gets his act together and goes on to college. Some relationships are made and broken throughout the course, whi
...more
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Robert James "Rob" Thomas is an American author, producer, and screenwriter, best known as the author of the 1996 novel Rats Saw God, creator of the critically acclaimed television series Veronica Mars and co-creator of 90210 and Party Down.
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“I swear, you are the only person I know who makes decisions based on what will provide the best material for a diary.” 19 likes
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