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The Whole Stupid Way We Are

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  416 Ratings  ·  98 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 2,280)
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karen
Feb 15, 2013 karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: why-yes-i-ya

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
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Sparrow
Nov 06, 2012 Sparrow rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: The Readventurer Girls; KI Hope
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!
Mar 06, 2013 Eh?Eh! rated it it was ok
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
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Kelly
Sep 14, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit
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
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Melody
Dec 16, 2012 Melody rated it it was amazing
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
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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
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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
Meg Allison
Feb 19, 2013 Meg Allison rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
Erin
Feb 18, 2013 Erin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
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
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Patricia
Jul 15, 2013 Patricia rated it did not like it
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
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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
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Erika
Feb 15, 2013 Erika rated it really liked it
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
Oct 12, 2012 Wendy rated it really liked it
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
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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
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Miriam
Jan 25, 2013 Miriam rated it it was amazing
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
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Elaine
Feb 21, 2016 Elaine rated it liked it
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
Elizabeth K.
Mar 21, 2014 Elizabeth K. rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-new-reads
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
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Becky Mitchell
Nov 10, 2013 Becky Mitchell rated it it was amazing
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
Nicholle
Jun 21, 2016 Nicholle rated it liked it
Shelves: yal
Did I give this book a star just for its potential? Yes. This is a debut novel that needed for guidance--not editing just revision guidance--from an editor. Why?
1) superfluous scenes: straight up there are unnecessary scenes and developments. Be concise. Get to the heart of the story. Who needs to hear the perspective of the 13 month old sibling? No one.
2) third person: Third person YA needs to be done well with compelling connection to characters. This does not happen in this novel. The reader
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Meredith Feng
Jul 04, 2015 Meredith Feng rated it it was ok
It was okay.

I mean, I liked it at first. Dinah Beach and her friends are some of the most animated, intriguing, wholeheartedly REAL characters you can come across. I will give Griffin an A+ for characterization.

Dinah is an incredibly relatable character - and her friends, why, it feels as if they're almost your friends. This story reminded me of my own life in a very uncanny way. Dinah was dealing with problems I was and still am dealing with. I was hoping this book would give me a bit of relief
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Angela
Apr 26, 2013 Angela rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessi
Mar 02, 2014 Jessi rated it really liked it
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
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Kristin Taggart
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
Elliot Hayden
Dec 29, 2015 Elliot Hayden rated it did not like it
The first thing that I want to say is that I can't stand this book! I found that there was no point to it. This book has the most frustrating and annoying characters I've ever read about and in the end, I saw no resolution so to me, it felt like a waste of time.
CLM
Feb 27, 2013 CLM rated it really liked it
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.
Katelyn Hughes
Oct 30, 2014 Katelyn Hughes rated it liked it
I loved this book1 The ending was amazing. It definitely shows that even though things may be hard for certain people and their problems seem overwhelming you can count on some to do the right thing. You shouldn't judge people by the way they may seem by their houses,family and their hardships. Believe it or not we all face similar problems, it just depends on the harshness of it all. Whether it be your family is slowly falling apart or nothing ever seems to go right for you even when you try s ...more
Aiyana
Aug 31, 2015 Aiyana rated it really liked it
Dinah and Skint share a frustration at the cruelty of the world-- they just want people to get along. And so they work together to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, like many young do-gooders, Dinah is quick to judge, slow to understand, and averse to conflict. She is always looking for simple answers to complicated problems. And Skint is dealing with far more complicated problems than she can handle, causing a growing rift in their friendship.

Sad, believable, alternately hopeful and
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Mindy
Aug 27, 2015 Mindy rated it it was ok
GOOD:
The cover art is good.
Some of the scenes between Skint and his parents were well-done.
There were times when a lot of meaning lay between the dialogue.

NOT SO GOOD:
Way too many places where the author took the easy way out and basically said, "First, A happened, followed by B, then C," rather than showing the readers.
The food pantry scenes got confusing and boring. It reminded me of times when a writer has some meaningful event from her own past that she tries to make into as big a deal
...more
Trent Reedy
May 25, 2013 Trent Reedy rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely beautiful. So intense. And every line is magic. The whole thing sings.
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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.
More about N. Griffin...

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