Smiles to Go
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Smiles to Go

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  3,223 ratings  ·  477 reviews
What is stargazer, skateboarder, chess champ, pepperoni pizza eater, older brother, sister hater, best friend, first kisser, science geek, control freak Will Tuppence so afraid of in this great big universe?

Jerry Spinelli knows.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by HarperCollins (first published 2000)
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2009 Newbery Contenders
39th out of 92 books — 575 voters
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4th out of 10 books — 5 voters

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Community Reviews

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It all starts with the death of one proton.

Who knew?

I enjoyed it, but it wasn't what I was hoping for, which was more of what I saw with his 'Stargirl' books.

It's a sweet story with a tidy ending. A good representation of what the young adult book should be.

And I learned the meaning of 'solipsism'. Now to incorporate that in every day life. hmmm... I'm sure I'll find a way.

I did enjoy this part (dealing with the above death of proton)

Two hundred days since 10:15am that September Saturday mo...more
I always think it's funny when books say "My first....", "My first ABC book", "My first book of rhymes", "my first book of Holiday's",etc. I mean how many "first's" are there before "first" isn't a big deal.
and yet, I think this book could marketed as "My first book of existential crisis" The main character realized protons die and questions the nature of everything while being with others for not recognizing the gravity of things."

I don't necessarily like the idea of introducing the idea of sel...more

"And smiles to go before I weep,
And Smiles to go before I weep."

--BT, "Smiles to Go", P. 44

"I feel like I'm playing chess underwater. The pieces keep floating away. I don't know where things are. I can't figure out tomorrow."

--Will Tuppence, "Smiles to Go", P. 140

Simply put, Jerry Spinelli never misses. HE...NEVER...MISSES. The beauty of this story really sneaks up on the reader, but it is as spendidly crafted as just about anything else that has been written. The love scenes are really, t...more
Miz Lizzie
This book did not click with me at all. Actually, I intensely disliked it though I reserve the possibility that there may be some readers who actually enjoy the false sentimentality of the story. The main message seemed to be that teenaged Will needed to see finally understand that his preschool little sister Tabby was not actually a pest but a cute little sister who loves him and whom he really secretly loves in return. Problem is that Tabby was an obnoxiously spoiled and completely out of cont...more
Smiles To Go by Jerry Spinelli was an intriguing story about a 9th grade boy named Will and his life. Will becomes extremely devastated when he learns that protons, the building blocks of all life, decay. This shocks him as he grew up thinking that a proton was immortal, invincible, everlasting but, he was wrong… Will wants to be an astronomer along with his friend Mi-su. One night misu and will went to a star party together lets just say they weren't just studying stars.
Will is a overthinker,...more
Emma Randall
Usually i don't read Jerry Spinelli's books because i think they are childish, but Smiles to go proved me wrong. The author kind of make the beginning of the book so uninteresting, but then it starts to pick up. But other than that, the book is pretty all right.
In the beginning of the book, it talks about how this kid Will Tuppence is interested in protons and science. But the story drags on like the author didn't have anything else to say, until the next chapter comes along.
The story talks abo...more
It wasn't until about 1/3 of the way into this book that I began to think any teenager would ever read it.

Having grown up believing protons to be an immortal part of the universe, 9th-grade chess whiz and future astronomer Will Tuppence's world is rocked when scientists witness a flash that marked the expiration of a proton. Will is so upset over this that he can barely function for a few days, and is genuinely shocked and surprised that no one else seems to care.

Once he finally accepted the d...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
I'd have to put this title down as one of my favorite Spinelli novels. Will is a real person with a convincing and consistent internal voice. His obsession with planning and attention to minute details reveals a scientific and intellectual mind -- at the same time, he is slightly lacking in the "social intelligence" -- not being able to read the cues of his peers and more damagingly, not being able to decipher his little sister's actions as cries for attention in a somewhat positive way. Now......more
I'm a nerd.

And yet as I read this book, I couldn't help but think, "Whoa. This kid's a real nerd. Like Percy." While not my favorite of Spinelli's books, definitely a reminder of why he is such a good author.

***SPOILER***First, I like to think that the relationship aspects of this story happen with 16 y/o, not high school freshmen. And second, I don't like that they have cell phones. But third, is a real plot point: Mi-Su struck me as unrealistic because although she is popular, she doesn't see...more
Uriel Manuel
Recommended to 12 & Older:

In Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli a 9th grade science nerd named Will Tuppence faces many challenges in life. These include getting his crush to like him, Overcoming his obsession with protons, and his hard relationship with his sister. When Will hears that a proton has died, he didn’t take it well. He thought everything would last forever, but nothing does. Now his fear of dying begins to take over.

The writer’s style is very realistic. An example from the book th...more
Janina Jammer
The novel Smiles To Go revolves around a melodramatic high school freshman named Will. One day, Will Tuppence finds out that protons can decay, which is a shock for him, because he thought they can live forever. , and of course his annoying little sister, Tabby.

Will has a crush on his best friend Mi-Su, who is very self centered, and really doesn’t care about anybody but herself and her growing popularity as an actress and singer in the school play.
There mutual friend is BT, a so called skating...more
Oct 04, 2012 Marilyn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 6th - 9th grade
Spinelli's back with a gem of a story. I loved the focus on relationships between friends and siblings. It seemed very true to life. Will is a believable character and one that both boys and girls will relate to.

I just re-read this for my teen book group. Still a great read; Will is a wonderful character, flaws and all.
Maria Contreras
The beginning of this book was pretty interesting, flashing news! They have seen a proton disappear. It has died out, oh my a proton. This is a book that involves some science in it which makes it pretty realistic which is interesting to me. The main character name Will Tuppence and every saturday he plays Monopoly with his two friends B.T and Mi-Su. B.T and Will aren't really great friends and Will thinks B.T is a bad influence to his younger sister. In my opinion, I think B.T shouldn't be in t...more
This was such a thought-provoking little book. I really like this author. He uses great metaphors like: "off the edge of self-control and down the slippery slope of my own words." The main character is a young man totally into science and the idea of protons leaving and flying and dying in tiny flashes, getting caught up in their own world, not seeing the proton picture or the whole picture. Maybe it's enough to know who we are just today, right now, this minute. Don't calculate and judge or wor...more
My mom told me to just read this and I'm glad I did! I quickly read through the first chapter to see what I’d think about it and after reading “Me and sock monkeys made of the same stuff? It was too much to digest.” It made me laugh and I had to keep reading. It wasn't an awesomely exciting book like I usually enjoy but it was sweet and helped me remember what’s really important. I found myself smiling and laughing throughout and cried through the last 1/4 of the book!

It was a simple story about...more
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Reading Teen
I absolutely love Jerry Spinelli (I feel like now that I've read, and loved, three of his books, I can "officially" say that I love him as an author instead of only loving his books). In Smiles to Go Will is so philosophical, he's so much more than the artificial, shallow guy found in so many YA books. He has a take on life that's way beyond his years, he asks questions and ponders things that wouldn't even occur to most people, and I absolutely loved listening to his thoughts.

Not being a guy,...more
I was having a conversation about books the other day with one of my sisters. I was telling her how I prefer books (and movies too) with stories that center around people.... well-developed characters whose lives are changed by the events in the stories or their relationships with other people; people who learn about themselves and grow from their experiences... stories that are "human" regardless of whether it's science fiction, fantasy, romance, comedy, drama, etc. A book that is filled with a...more
Sometimes it takes a tragedy to see things clearly. Will Tuppence, high school freshman, aspiring astrologer, science lover, chess champion has, without a doubt, the most annoying, bratty little sister anyone could ever have. But, she adores him, enough so to make his life miserable. Anyone who has ever had a little sibling will know exactly what this book is all about.

Will is just trying to figure out how his best friends, and the normalcy of their days together, could have gotten mixed up in...more
Candice M (tinylibrarian)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 14, 2011 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Teen Book Club selection
When Will Tuppence hears that a proton has died, his world is shattered. He used to think he was invincible, and now he knows that nothing lasts forever. His fears begin to consume him. When his best friends, Mi-Su and BT, end up kissing one night, Will begins to obsess over how to kiss Mi-Su. When BT manages to skateboard down Dead Man's Hill, Will finds himself standing at the top of the hill, wishing he had the courage to do it. But what is he actually afraid of?

It's a little hard to describe...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeremy Rodriguez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maddie C.
Very good book I loved the feelings and the whole challenges of growing-up thing. I loved the whole first kiss and jealousy aspect too. This book was great all around.
As I read this book, all I could think was the phrase "assignment book." This is exactly the type of book that middle school teachers like to assign their class to read. Full of potential "symbolism" and "imagery," I feel sorry for the future middle school students that will have to read this book. Spinelli tried to appeal to boys through skateboarding, but the main character's obsession with dying protons is grating and his little sister is completely annoying. I will not be recommending this b...more
Audrey Guirguis
In the novel Smile to Go, by Jerry Spinelli, a ninth grade boy named Will is a science nerd who is too involved into his own world. He faces many challenges in life such as: worrying about protons dying all day, everyday, relationships between him and a popular girl named Mi-Su, and a troubled relationship between him and his sister. In the end of the book it really tells how he begins to loosen up, and live life to the fullest, he gets closer to his friends and family. He begins to be a more so...more
James Schurman
Will is a fifteen year old boy who is just like you and me. However, he has a massive obsession with science, and protons specifically. One morning Will’s life changes forever when he discovers that a proton in Canada decayed. And thus begins PD1, or the first day that the proton died. When Will is not in school, practicing on his skateboard or trying to avoid his annoying little sister, Tabby, he looks forward to playing Monopoly with his best friends, Misu and BT.

Will is sensible boy who alwa...more

Protons do not die, do they? Just as Will discovered the fact that there are gazillions of protons out there, including the fact that they do not die, shocking news proved him wrong! When Will heard that a proton had died, he was in utter shock.

“The protons are dead, nothing will ever be the same”

This will relate to Will’s life in the story.

Ninth grader Will Tuppence loves skateboarding and astronomy, he is also good at chess and cross-country. He has a huge crush on Mi-Su, and would hate it i...more
Sunwoo Im
Jerry Spinelli, the author of this book. Spinelli showed a theme of family, friendship, and love. Will, who is in 9th grade, talented at the skateboard and obsessed with Mi-Su, his crush. Will, Mi-Su, and BT are good friends, they play monopoly. In the star party, Will saw BT and Mi-Su kissing in the star. Since then, Will was being jealous, stupid and acted like a jerk, he planned to kiss Mi-Su. “It seemed to be one shape, one silhouette on the hill, but I knew it was two, and I knew who they w...more
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Review 1 3 May 22, 2014 12:06PM  
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his...more
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“I feel like I'm playing chess underwater. The pieces keep floating away. I don't know where things are. I can't figure out tomorrow.” 20 likes
“And smiles to go before I weep,
And Smiles to go before I weep.”
More quotes…