The Whole Stupid Way We Are
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The Whole Stupid Way We Are

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  275 ratings  ·  89 reviews
What happens when everything you’ve got to give isn’t enough to save someone you love?

It’s Maine. It’s winter. And it’s FREEZING STINKIN’ COLD! Dinah is wildly worried about her best friend, Skint. He won’t wear a coat. Refuses to wear a coat. It’s twelve degrees out, and he won’t wear a coat. So Dinah’s going to figure out how to help. That’s what Dinah does—she helps. Bu...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,759)
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karen

this review is going to be a mess, i am warning you, in a way, it is an impossible book for me to review, because i am really afraid that it is going to reveal things about me that will make you all hate me and never want to be my friend again.

but quickly, to forestall any of that - i liked this book. as a debut novel particularly, it is truly amazing. and reading both ceridwen's and sparrow's unbelievably good reviews - they just make me feel inadequate, as a person.

because i am not a good per...more
Sparrow
This made me think of everything. Every single sweet and sad thing that ever happened. Still, it stayed its own, and I loved these kids like crazy. So stupid. This stupid book made me cry from the Donkey Waltz all the way till the end. But, it wasn’t a mean book that was setting out just to make me cry – it wasn’t about that at all. It was about how when you are in ninth grade, you see everything sad, and it is probably your fault, or you don’t see any of the sad things, and later, when you real...more
Eh?Eh!
After seeing raves from friends whose expressed deep connection with the characters and situations in this book, I was eager to read it. However, this one rubbed me in a couple different wrong ways, not like a certain person's mother.

Skint and Dinah are friends who are opposite in how life comes at them. I use that deliberately, instead of saying they approach life, that they face constant frustration in others and themselves and appear to have little control or direction.

Dinah is described as b...more
Kelly
Disclaimer -- I know the author. (However, if I know an author and didn't like what they wrote, I generally skip reviewing at all...)

I read The Whole Stupid Way We Are in one gulp and was gutted by it. I felt for Skint, I felt for Dinah. (I think my husband and I are Dinah's parents.) The book is life, and families, and breaking points and not being able to handle them or ask for help. Skint and Dinah are misfits by virtue of feeling too much and thinking too deeply. I think the people that "get...more
Melody
12/12 Bumping this up a star- it's stayed with me, whole, all the time since I read it. I think about Skint a lot. No, really. A lot.

8/12 Disclaimer first: I am friends with the author of this remarkable book, though I flatter myself that I'm reasonably objective nonetheless.

Wow, this book packs an emotional wallop that left me reeling. Despite it being written in present tense (which I loathe, almost always) it drew me in and made me care so much about Skint & Dinah and their lives that I...more
Meg Allison
A raw, gritty, and ultimately brave debut novel from break-out new author, N.Griffin. A quite unexpected story about quite unexpected teens. This isn't for your The Clique readers (though they would benefit threefold from reading it). It isn't juicy, it isn't sexy, nor filled with gratuitous drug use and sex in a time when YA books seem to be gorging themselves of those themes. No, this is a brave story. A quiet story. A story yearning to be told - a story about the misfits. Two in particular, D...more
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
It's friday and turned out to be a holiday yet I still expected to follow the established norm of my days. I got up not early enough to have to feel like compensating for it in the afternoon, nor late enough that my breath turned stale. Deep foreboding clouded my brows when I realized I had to crack open my scribble over physics textbook for the upcoming test but lo! miracles of miracles, mysteries of mysteries, the words were soaked up by my brain easily as if I'd been partaking of that magic b...more
Janie
Well, this book made me cry. And I didn't like it (weirdly enough, this happened with The Book Thief too, though that was written considerably better than this one). Well, I didn't HATE it. It did make me cry, which is pretty rare and indicates that the book did something right.

The weakest aspect of this book was the characters. I only liked maybe three characters altogether, and none of them are mains. They are the little kid (forgot his name, sorry it's vague), the little kid's (view spoi...more
Erin
It's finally here!

Full disclosure - the author is a friend of mine, and I adore her. She is trying very hard to maintain separation between "real life" and "author life", so I'll say no more (except that I MUST have an FoE with her). When the book arrived, she sent me an e-mail asking me to be honest in my review, and so I will.

This book is lovely.

So lovely, that I read it sloooowly, to make it last.

The reasons anyone would love it - it's filled with heartache without ever being desperately sa...more
Lizz
An astonishing debut novel from an author to watch. Griffin's characters come achingly to life as do their problems, reactions, and relationships with each other. The characters ring true to life and readers might find themselves uncomfortably relating to the choices they make.

Griffin writes beautifully about the sad realities of life. But much like a good tattoo artist gives you only as much as you can take then gives you a break, Griffin knows when to pull back. A book you'll want to inhale in...more
Erika
I loved this book. Someday I will write a review for it. But there was an unexpected thing in it which was a trigger for me and I was not prepared. I feel like there is death and just general horrible crap all around me right now and this was not the time for me to pick up this wonderful heart achy book.
Wendy
Amazing, vivid writing. A piece of ice in your heart that will twist and twist again; thank god for the baby brother.
Bonnie
This book was going to get 4 stars until the ending - which is a non-ending, entirely too ambiguous for my tastes. I understand it's a stylistic choice, but that doesn't have to make me happy about it.

Skint and Dinah are best friends united by their kookiness. This is a kind of slice-of-life book in which there are a lot of issues simmering in the background - an abused little boy the pair befriend, Skint's imploding home life (his dad has early-onset dementia, his mother is destroying herself a...more
Rebecca
Apr 02, 2013 Rebecca marked it as no-thanks
mehhhh. I was ready to love this book, I really was, because it seems so thoughtful. But it's just not meant to be. Here are some clues:
1) the profanity. now, it's funny, because I just read another book that was chock-full of profanity (well, maybe it wasn't that bad, but worse than this book), and it didn't bother me nearly as much. but I don't like hearing so many f-words out of the mouth of 15 year olds. It doesn't seem realistic, actually. But hey, I was homeschooled, so what do i know.
2) t...more
Miriam
Dinah and Skint have been friends for a long, long time. They have the fierce, intense sort of bond that odd kids can form to keep the rest of the world bay.

Dinah has gentle, loving parents and a baby brother they are all wild about.

Skint has a father sunk deep into dementia and a mother who is furious, despairing and in over her head. He misses the father he used to have, understands and hates his mother simultaneously and colludes in the attempt to keep his dad's condition secret.

Skint and...more
Patricia
Read for Librarian Book Club
I didn't like this book, though in discussing it with the book group I was reminded about some rather charming elements of the book that had gotten lost in my annoyance. So there are good things and the overall feeling by the members in the group was that it was very, very good.

I was initially put off by the huge amount of profanity spoken by the main characters. However, at about the same time I was reading this book, I also began reading my journals from late junior...more
Elaine
I have mixed feelings about this book. If I just would have read the ending I would have only given it two stars but I admit the beginning got me hooked and I loved the relationship between the characters. My real problem with this book is that I hate that the author left the ending so unresolved. I accept bad endings to books if they at least give you a little closure and actually tell what happened or give you an epilogue to what happened in the future, but this book didn't. The author has Ski...more
Hayley
This book was raw and real and beautiful and messed up. I read the whole thing in one sitting. The main characters Dinah and Skint are quirky and great to read and trying to be good people but still falling prey to the rashness and naivety of youth.

This book deals with alot of serious and emotional issues. Some of these issues I have had to face and am still facing and I love how realistically they are dealt with. There's no moral high ground or preaching, just the overwhelming reality of being...more
Elizabeth K.
This was darling, and really moving. YA, two friends, they have problems but it doesn't feel like a problem novel. I love this kind of story where even the minor characters come across as very real people and you completely believe have their own entire back stories. It's nice, nice, nice writing, and the dialogue really hit the right note (so often the weak link in YA).

I have to say, because I am a mean person with a cold, cold heart, that if I ever encountered a Handcreature, I would break som...more
Becky Mitchell
As I am friends with the author, I will do my best to not be biased. The Whole Stupid Way We Are is so relatable to someone who thinks as hard as I do, and I caught myself wanting my own Skint or my own Dinah throughout the book. It captures the essence of every family is dysfunctional in its own way with anecdotes of sarcasm hilarity that made the devastating state of Skint's dad's condition bearable. I wished for Skint, related to Dinah, understood Beagie, and wondered for so many other charac...more
Angela
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessi
I can think of a lot of pros - things I loved about this book:
That it focused on a friendship between a boy and a girl, and they were just that - friends, and nothing more.
That it showed growing up in a rural setting so well, how people in the school and town interact with each other, and the walks that Skint and Dinah have to take to get around. Not a lot of YA is written about growing up in the middle of the woods.
The characters, and how incredibly stupid the author allowed them to be - they w...more
Owlcat Mountain
I don't use star ratings, so please read my review!

(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“It’s Maine. It’s winter. And it’s FREEZING STINKIN’ COLD! Dinah is wildly worried about her best friend, Skint. He won’t wear a coat. Refuses to wear a coat. It’s twelve degrees out, and he won’t wear a coat. So Dinah’s going to figure out how to help. That’s what Dinah does—she helps. But she’s too busy trying to help to notice that sometimes, she’s doing more harm than good. Seeing the trees instead of th...more
CLM
A heartbreaking book about friendship, families and finding one's place in a community. The pervasive cold in this story was very real and frightening to me, on a number of levels.
Trent Reedy
This book is absolutely beautiful. So intense. And every line is magic. The whole thing sings.
Claire
Apr 13, 2013 Claire rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya, rev
Skillful, but brutal. And the non-ending means readers don't get any closure, even sad closure.
Tony
I did not actually finish. Not because I could not or was disturbed, but because I could not get past the set up. I am not comparing N. Griffin to Cormac McCarthy, but, here it goes. I find his books almost impossible to read but I rather enjoy listening to them. Format and style matter to me. I think, if this book was an audio book, I would have finished, no problem. I just did not like the Da Da Da Da Da DA voice I kept hearing. Present tense third person is hard to pull off and it just did no...more
Tedi
This book is crafty, quirky and funny from the very beginning. I was instantly sucked into the vortex of the age when you realize that sometimes things aren't going to be okay - when you learn that there is too much bad in the world to handle. Griffin gives us two characters that handle this realization in massively different ways as they try to maintain their friendship despite their vast differences.

I was a little bit disappointed by the end but the last line leaves you with that final punch...more
Jory
Right from the title, I loved the writing in this novel. Set in cold, wintry Maine, Dinah and Skint are best friends -- except their lives are pulling them apart because there is too much unsaid. About Skint's demented father, Skint's abusive mother, Dinah's dark thoughts in the face of her optimism, and more. This book was easy for me to put down, though -- and by the end, I was crying, and then on the last page, left very unsure. Glad I read it, and am savoring bits of it, but overall, it does...more
Gary
And that's why I love to read contemporary novels. The sheer amount of emotional investment you have to put in is usually worth it.

The Story:

It’s Maine. It’s winter. And it’s FREEZING STINKIN’ COLD! Dinah is wildly worried about her best friend, Skint. He won’t wear a coat. Refuses to wear a coat. It’s twelve degrees out, and he won’t wear a coat. So Dinah’s going to figure out how to help. That’s what Dinah does—she helps. But she’s too busy trying to help to notice that sometimes, she’s doing...more
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N. Griffin is the author of The Whole Stupid Way We Are (Atheneum), coming out on Feb 5, 2013, as well as an as-yet-untitled middle-grade mystery to be released in the fall of 2013 (Candlewick). She received her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives outside of Boston with her beau and their dogs.
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