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Zen and the Art of Faking It

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  3,186 ratings  ·  410 reviews
From masterfully funny and poignant Jordan Sonnenblick, a story that will have everyone searching for their inner Zen. When eighth-grader San Lee moves to a new town and a new school for the umpteenth time, he doesn't try to make new friends or be a loner or play cool. Instead he sits back and devises a plan to be totally different. When he accidentally answers too many qu ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published October 1st 2007)
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Mr. Z
Apr 22, 2010 Mr. Z rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
*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
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
It was a very interesting book and I totally recommend it.
Hannah C.
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.
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
Abby Johnson
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
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,
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
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
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
When San Lee moves to a small town in Pennsylvania, he’d prefer if no one knew the truth: his father is in prison and his mother is barely making ends meet. While trying to fit in, he accidentally gains a reputation as a Zen master. Students think his sandals-in-winter look is a Buddhist statement, not caused by poverty. San Lee is adopted from China, but no one knows that. They assume his ethnicity lends some credence to his Zen identity—it’s a well-written message about how we stereotype race. ...more
Maddy Gazo
This book was a fantastic read and it definitely was a page turner! I did not want to put down the book. Zen and the Art of Falking It by Jordan Sonnenblick is a good book it has to do with a teenage boy who trys to fake his life and is having a hard life living his own. Throughout the book, he tries to really figure out who he is because he has moved schools so many different times that he doesn't even know who he is. Zen is a religious type of Buddhism and it really intrests this boy named San ...more
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
Zen and the Art of Faking It - Jordan Sonnenblick "When eighth-grader San Lee moves to a new town and a new school for the umpteenth time, he doesn't try to make new friends or be a loner or play cool. Instead he sits back and devises a plan to be totally different. When he accidentally answers too many questions in World History on Zen (only because he just had Ancient Religions two schools ago) all heads turn and San has his answer: he's a Zen Master. And just when he thinks everyone (includin ...more
Hannah Wille
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allison C
I liked how this book combined the situation and life of a middle-school boy with humor, and it really worked out well. I really enjoyed how the author used the average life of a middle-school boy who just moved into a new town, so many people could relate to his life. The author thought of a lot of interesting ways that the main character replied to other characters who either asked him questions or said mean things to him, which was probably one of the things I enjoyed about this book. The wri ...more
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!
Rachelle Urist
Mar 26, 2015 Rachelle Urist rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tweens, their parents, grandparents
Recommended to Rachelle by: Evelyn Urist
It's a young adult novel recommended to me by my ten-year old granddaughter. (She's 10 going on 15.) It took me two tries to get into the book. The style is young-adult. The theme is timeless, poignant and wise. An eighth grader, moved from school to school by a doting mother and ne'er do well father, finally finds a way to fit in. He makes a friend, falls in love, adopts a persona that feels fake but draws out his most creative self. He is clever and resourceful, though he thinks himself a phon ...more
Jordan Sonnenblick shows that it's better to be oneself than to fake an identity. San Lee, an Asian teenager , moves (again) to a new town. He moves to Harrisonville, Missouri, a very small town. He has an interesting past. San feels as though if he were to be himself, he wouldn't fit in. So, his solution is to be somebody else. Because of this, he pretends to be a zen master to impress a girl he likes named Woody.San must do a project on his so called "religion", that he's been faking, with Woo ...more
Carol Ansel
San Lee is new in town, again. He lives with his mother, who is, for all intents and purposes, a single mom, since his dad is in jail for fraud. At his new high school, he is intrigued by Woody, a girl in his class who plays guitar and sings Woody Guthrie songs in the lunchroom each day. He impresses her, and some classmates and his teacher as well, with his apparent deep knowledge of Zen Buddhism, which he presumably practices at home (NOT - he's adopted and he and his parents do not practice a ...more
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.
Zen and The Art of Faking it was a really good book. You don't have to be into zen to like it. I liked the book because of its meaning. If you like zen or is interested in middle school scandal then I would recommend this book to you.

When San keeps moving with his mother he tries to be someone he isn't. When he starts to study zen everyone believes he is a zen master. When San and his friend Woody have to do a project it turns into something more. While San and Woody are going doing their projec
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.
Riley Johnson
This book was awesome! I especially loved San's wry sense of humor, some of the one-liners had me laughing. He and Woody were believable characters, and I found myself relating to them instead of rolling my eyes. Sonnenblick's portrayal of an 8th grader with a LOT on his plate is brilliantly done, and I enjoyed the way he tackled some pretty big issues without overdoing it. Sure, it's predictable. I found I didn't care. However, I wanted to see more of San and Emily's reconciliation, as I don't ...more
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.
Lynda Wilson-Dinino
For every person who has ever felt as he or she was faking her way through life!

Atah Hassan
Have you ever been the new kid/knew a new kid to school? Well wether you have or haven't i highly recommend you read this realistic fiction book. This book really connects with many young adults so i highly recommend you read this book if you are between the ages of 11 - 18 as it is very entertaining.

This book is about an adopted asian kid who moves school many times because of his criminal dad, and every time he switches school he decides to be a new fake person. He changes his personality and
I have a feeling this will teach me a lot. Can't wait to read it!
Mrs. G
This book really captured what it must be like to be in a new school frequently. I love that the main character chooses to try to reinvent himself each time he enters a new school. I felt connected with the main character and think that anybody would enjoy getting to know him, just like I did. It just goes to show that one person really can make a big difference in many people's lives. In this case, he had a great influence on all of the students in his new school. It also shows that we can make ...more
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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...
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie (Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, #1) After Ever After (Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, #2) Notes from the Midnight Driver Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip Are You Experienced?

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