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Zen and the Art of Faking It

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  3,782 Ratings  ·  476 Reviews
Meet San Lee, a (sort of) innocent teenager, who moves against his will to a new town. Things get interesting when he (sort of) invents a new past for himself, which makes him incredibly popular. In fact, his whole school starts to (sort of) worship him, just because he (sort of) accidentally gave the impression that he's a reincarnated mystic.

When things start to unravel,
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Scholastic Press
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Andrea There are 364 pages in the book "Zen and the art of faking it."

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Madeline Kerrigan
Sep 28, 2016 Madeline Kerrigan rated it really liked it
“Blending in is impossible. So maybe it’s time to fake it” (1)

Jordan Sonnenblick takes us through the all too well known middle school years. Zen and the Art of Faking It is a realistic fiction book, that guides the reader through the drama, love, hate, and friendship that middle school brings. San Lee is just an ordinary teenage boy attempting to fit into the middle school “standards”, with this being this fifth time moving in the past year. He has experimented with every role there is includi
Mr. Z
Mar 31, 2009 Mr. Z rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Middle school students
"People are always telling kids to be themselves, but either they didn't mean it or they didn't tell you how to go about doing it when everyone was trying to push and pull you into line."

8th grader San Lee is once again the new kid in town. He's moved from school to school so many times he doesn't even know who he is anymore. There are so many cliques and labels to choose from at school, he loses track. It doesn't take him long to fall in love with a gorgeous, guitar-playing classmate. What wil
Doms Candels
i'm not too occupied at work these days and finally got around to finishing this book! YAY!

3.5 stars!
i definitely liked the first sonnenblick book i've read, Notes from the Midnight Driver, but this one isn't so bad too.
what i like:
- narration—it was funny, quite like aforementioned first book i read
- quotable quotes, i'm a sucker for these and i expected no less from a zen book lol
- san lee (well, somewhat)!

"I'm San Lee. If cold, rain, poverty, and tragedy couldn't break my concentration, neit
Mar 29, 2010 Philip rated it liked it
*I just had a kid ask me today if I'd read this book... it's in our class collection... I couldn't remember. To me, that's a bad sign for a book that I read less than a year ago... Maybe I should bump my review down to 2 stars after all...* *edit Sept. 7, 2011*

-Original Review-Dec. 1, 2010-
You know how sometimes books try to trick kids into thinking they're fun books, but they're really these boring books with teachery morals that kids see right through?

Well, I felt that way for the first half o
Jul 11, 2016 Madelyn rated it it was ok
This book was fine, but it just seemed to be forcing people into reading it with "basketball concepts", but it is really trying to teach lessons. I for one do not like having lessons shoved down my throat while reading. The lesson was basically not to lie. That was just one thing I didn't LOVE about this book.

The book basically brings up the point that junior high isn't too pleasant. But, the book seemed too immature for that concept and seemed to lack the structure to make it a perfect book. If
Apr 22, 2017 Sophia rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emma Grigsby
Apr 02, 2017 Emma Grigsby rated it it was amazing
This really great story of San Lee who of course fakes himself as being A Zen Buddhist. He meets a girl named Emily or "Woody" who has a reason to her name with her mom. Sin doesn't like his dad. He runs through this journey with his teacher assigning a project with has to do with the topic of Buddhism. He kind of just sucks everyone in and makes him think he is good at basketball when really it's just luck. So they ask him questions. And soon his mom wants to meet this special girl Woody but ru ...more
Jan 17, 2008 Dracolibris rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit, 2008
Sonnenblick did it again- stole my heart with his wonderful characters and carried me away to a different school where I just wanted to reach out and give San Lee a big hug.

San Lee is the protaganist of this book, and is wonderfully witty, flawed and sweet, all at the same time. Starting at a new school after his family is torn apart by his father's lies, San doesn't intend to lie to his new classmates. It just sort of happens that they think he is a hot shot mystical and wise Zen Master. And b
Jan 29, 2015 Emmé rated it it was amazing
It was a very interesting book and I totally recommend it.
Nov 22, 2015 Sophie rated it really liked it
Zen and the Art of Faking It is an incredible book written by Jordan Sonnenblick. It is full of humor, sarcasm, in-depth emotions, and a good story line. It is one of those books that make you fall in love with some characters, and hate others. Jordan Sonnenblick has the reader on the edge of their seat, screaming at a character to do or say something, when the character does the opposite. In this great book, Jordan Sonnenblick has written about an eighth grade boy, San, whose only wish is to f ...more
Hannah C.
Jan 29, 2011 Hannah C. rated it really liked it
Hannah Chamberlain
Mrs. Romaniuk
Reading/L.A: Book Review #9
17 February 2011
San Lee:
Zen Buddhist or Liar?
Have you ever heard of an animal called a chameleon? They are reptiles that have the strange ability to change their appearance in a matter of seconds in order to blend in to or stand out from their surroundings. In the book Zen and the Art of Faking It, San and his mom move to Harrisonville, Pennsylvania in present times, where this realistic fiction novel by Jordan Sonnenblick takes place.
Jan 07, 2016 713Shane rated it it was amazing
My monthly published review book is Zen and the Art of Faking it by Jordan Sonnenblick. I really liked this book because it was very humorous which is something everyone likes. Also this book is very relatable. I’m sure everyone can relate to telling a lie that came back to haunt you.
The main character's name is San who is adopted. His family, that consists of him and his parents, has had to move a lot because of the dads “business.” San’s dad is spending his time in jail at the time the setting
Abby Johnson
Nov 13, 2007 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it
Eighth grader San Lee just moved to Pennsylvania and started a new school. He's moved around a lot, from Texas to California to Alabama... and in each place he's assumed a new identity, heeding to his father's advice to "do as the Romans do". Now, with his dad (somewhat mysteriously) out of the picture, San has to decide how he's going to present himself at school. When he finds out that his social studies class is studying Eastern religions, which he studied the year before at his Texas school, ...more
Sep 19, 2016 Trystan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2012 7706lola rated it liked it
San Lee, an eighth grader with a father in jail and a lonesome, overprotective mother, has to move around a lot due to his father's behavior. In the story, he moves to a small, almost deserted town in "nowherseville", Pennsilvania. With all of the family's moving, San Lee feels he doesn't really have an original character. so every time they move, he recreates himself. This time, he decides to be a fake Zen master. This begins to go well for him- he already knows a bit of Zen theories, and to bo ...more
Jan 27, 2011 Taylor rated it really liked it
In the exciting romanic/comedy book Zen and the Art of Faking It by Joran Sonnenblick, San moves to a new school, which means he gets a new identity. his father, who is in prison, always taught him to fit in, never stand out, but, he does.
In all of the schools he's been in, he learns a lot about the same kinds of stuff. So, he takes his knowledge of Buddism and puts it into action. He becomes the "Budda Boy" and learns so much more about it so he can really pull it off. He meets a new friend,
Mar 20, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
When San Lee moves to a new school he sort of gives everybody the impression that he is a Zen Master after answering one too many questions. Before he knows it, people are looking at him in a whole new light and San has to study up on Zen to keep his fake image, all the while juggling his "poverty" home life and trying to get the attention of the girl he likes, all in a very zen sort of way. Will San Lee be able to pull everything off? Sort of....

I absolutely love Jordan Sonnenblick. He has defi
Sangwon Yoon
Jan 14, 2012 Sangwon Yoon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-study, humor
This is a story of a new guy in the school. After answering way too many questions about religion on his first day, San accidentally gets the "Zen Master" label. But instead of revealing that he already learned about ancient religions in his previous school, San decides to go with the flow, never knowing that his cover will eventually get blown...

This book has the greatest creativity and plot twists I've ever seen. It's hard to find a book that has many pages and yet seems so short. That's exact
Jul 19, 2013 Melody rated it liked it
Shelves: heard
I thought this was a wise little book, and could be an interesting jumping off point for kids interested in Taoism. It's heavy-handed in parts, and one sees the train wreck coming from the very beginning but it's satisfying just the same. I liked San a lot, and was rooting for him the whole way through. Any book with a Zen basketball game is worth picking up.

The switch to present tense at the end (which seems to be a thing for MG/YA books lately) is annoying. I get it, but it's intrusive and fe
B.A.  Wilson
Sep 24, 2013 B.A. Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, mg, contemporary
This sounds like a goofy book, and while it is occasionally funny, it is a lot more serious and interesting than it sounds.

San moves to a new school and decides to be someone new. After answering a few too many questions about Zen Buddhism, he turns into a bit of a Zen Master for the school. San keeps up this persona by telling a lot of lies to his new friends, fellow students, and teachers. Will he be able to maintain this new San, or will everything come crashing down? Read the book to find o
Aubrey Hitt
Dec 12, 2016 Aubrey Hitt rated it liked it
Shelves: reading-635
This book was really funny. I got really annoyed because the main character kept lying to people and I just wanted him to spit the truth out but that is the charm of the book. I also learned a little bit about zen culture while I was reading this. I think this book would be perfect for upper elementary students who are about to go through peer pressure and will want to hide their true identity. It is very relate-able to middle schoolers.
Nov 07, 2014 Nehal rated it really liked it
This book is great it has believable character such as are main protagonist San lee he is awkward un athletic boy who somehow through the powers of Buddha makes him self popular only one thing he isn't Buddhist. The book starts off slow but through the middle of the book it's starts to pick pace and becomes a really fun to read book I recommend this to anyone though adults might not find the excitement a younger audience would find in this book
Hannah Wille
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2009 Lia rated it really liked it
This was a very fun read. The writing style, plot, characters . . . all of it was just a lot of fun. My big gripe about the book is this: It is printed in a SANS-SERIF font. Whose idea was that? It made the reading a lot slower than it needed to be. Boo on people who don't realize why printed items always need a serif font for the body text. Booo! I say, BOOO!
Lauren Waters
Dec 15, 2016 Lauren Waters rated it liked it
This is a 3.5 for me. Sonnenblick is one of my favorite YA authors. His characters are always so realistic and relatable, but I had a difficult time connecting to the main character in this book. I did appreciate the message of honesty at the end of the novel.
May 27, 2016 Susanchitter rated it liked it
A book aimed for middle graders is a often funny first person narrative that tells the story of San Lee who inadvertently reinvents himself. He has started a new school in a new town (again) and falls for Woody, a girl with a big heart. As San is seen as a Zen master he life begins to change.
Jan 19, 2011 Dotty rated it it was amazing
San Lee is the new kid and he plans to be more different than he looks. Especially if that will get him the girl, fix his family and make a few friends along the way.
Lynda Wilson-Dinino
Aug 28, 2012 Lynda Wilson-Dinino rated it it was amazing
For every person who has ever felt as he or she was faking her way through life!

Dec 17, 2014 Zoe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book because of its humor and as well as it's life lessons. This book is cute and quirky but had a bit of seriousness.
Apr 30, 2009 Mokamonkey rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-books
This was the first title I read by this author. I think it deserves more like 4.5 stars - I'll definitely read him again.
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2017 Reading Chal...: Zen and the Art of Faking It 1 13 Oct 21, 2015 07:56PM  
discussion 22 11 Jan 19, 2012 06:47PM  
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I am the author of seven books for children and young adults, including Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie. So if youʼre looking for info about some other guy named Jordan Sonnenblick, youʼve got the wrong website.
Anyway, I know a lot of people are looking for stuff they can use in reports for school, so Iʼll just get this out of the way right up front:
My favorite color is blue.
I have a wife and two
More about Jordan Sonnenblick...

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