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The Other Way Around

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Andrew West goes to an all-girls school and he still can’t get a date. If that’s not bad enough, his Mom is the headmaster. Everyone seems to have the wrong idea about Andrew. His teachers think he’s a good student who doesn’t apply himself -he really is trying. The kids at his old school thought he was a goth. His cousin Barry thinks he’s gay.

When his Thanksgiving break goes tragically awry he decides to run away. He catches a ride with a strange group of older teenagers. The Freegans are street performers and dumpster divers. As Andrew travels the country with his new friends he leaves behind the expectations of others and discovers what he expects of himself.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2014

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About the author

Sashi Kaufman

4 books51 followers
Sashi Kaufman is a middle school science and English teacher who lives in Cumberland, Maine with her family, one dog and 8 chickens at last count. She loves contemporary YA, survival stories of all kinds, and journeys large and small. She is an amateur trash-picker and apologizes now if she has ever poached anything you did not mean to leave on the curb. She hates caraway seeds.

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5 stars
53 (27%)
4 stars
64 (32%)
3 stars
45 (23%)
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22 (11%)
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11 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 48 reviews
Profile Image for VDC.
238 reviews80 followers
February 26, 2014
THE OTHER WAY AROUND is my favorite 2014 contemporary. It's about a boy who runs away from home to hit the road with a group of vegan, trash-picking street performers. I loved not only the road trip story, but the organic and rich alternative life Andrew tumbles into. It was a lovely, and unique, way to rebel against his uptight, by-the-books mother.

I loved this book so much, Sashi and I are giving away a copy on my blog! http://valeriefm80.blogspot.com/2014/...
Profile Image for Tara.
Author 6 books205 followers
April 14, 2014
Within just a couple of chapters, I suspected that this book was going to be one of my favorites of 2014--and now that I'm finished, I'm happy to report that it is. Written in one of the most blazingly authentic teen voices I've read in quite a while, Andrew's journey brings him into contact with fascinating people and equally gripping interior conflicts. The secondary characters--especially G and Emily--are expertly drawn, and the romantic elements of the book have the perfect tinge of awkwardness and imperfection.

If you're a fan of, say, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I'd highly recommend this book to you. And even if you're not usually a fan of that type of books, I'd encourage you to read The Other Way Around anyway. :)

I could hardly believe that this was a debut novel, and can't wait to see what comes next from Sashi Kaufman.
Profile Image for Trisha.
1,937 reviews97 followers
July 26, 2016
This is really well written. Andrew's voice rings true, and his gradual development from uncertain boy into confident, clear-minded young man works both on a narrative level and a more figurative one.

The issues of youth homelessness, freeganism and society's inability to successfully care for some of its most vulnerable members are all here, but not in a preachy or trite way.

I found the relationship with Emily the weakest part of the book. She didn't garner my sympathy or my support. I liked how the book ended though: Nice & strong.

Highly recommended.

This copy was provided by the publisher via netgalley and was received with thanks. Due out March 1st.
Profile Image for Maggie.
730 reviews65 followers
March 3, 2014
The thing about this book is that I liked pretty much all of it: I liked the writing, I liked the main character, I liked most of the secondary characters, I liked the story, but there never anything, except very close to the end, that had me dying to pick up the book and know what would happen next. Maybe that’s not a bad thing? Not every book has to be compulsively readable and, at least with this book, all of the things I liked about outweighed my lack of desire to know what happened next.

Andrew, the main character, is in the strange position of attending an all-girls school. His mother is the headmaster and has been tasked with transitioning the school from a single-sex school to a co-educational school so Andrew, and a few other sons of faculty/staff members, are the male trailblazers. I’m sure lots of guys would view this as an incredible opportunity, but Andrew is kind of weird and awkward and while not unattractive, also not the guy that all the girls are lusting after. Mostly they just ignore him. The problem is that Andrew’s divorced parents also mostly ignore him and Andrew is sick and tired of his life. After a particularly horrible Thanksgiving with his family (seriously, they’re nuts) Andrew decides to run away to visit his grandmother, the only family member he likes.

At the bus station Andrew meets this motley crew of teenagers and decides to exchange his bus ticket and head out onto the road with them. They drive around in this old VW bus and are “freegans,” people who dig through trash to find food and other goods and who shun capitalist, consumer culture. When I first met the freegans I could have sworn there were 50 of them, but in reality it was just five other people. Eventually they all mostly get their own unique personalities, but for much of the book I often found myself confused about who was who. In addition to going through trash, the freegans are street performers, doing a kind of impromptu circus in the towns they visit, to make money to pay for things like gas that they can’t dig out of the garbage. The freegans are on their way to a festival in New Mexico and Andrew decides to stick with them as long as possible.

The freegans themselves have interesting personalities and along the way on their road trip they encounter a lot of interesting people. And it was all interesting, but as I said, it was never compelling. From pretty much when I started the book I figured that Andrew would be on the road with the freegans for a while, learn about himself, change his outlook on life, and then go back to his family as a new person. And that’s what happens. It was all well done, but I was never surprised by anything in the book. There is a bit of a twist at the end, something that left me dying to turn the page, and I really liked how the story ended, but still, I will probably always prefer books where I’m on the edge of my seat dying to know what happens next.

Bottom Line: This book has two of my favorite things: a male narrator and a road trip and both of them were executed extremely well. Even though I wasn’t totally taken in by the story and eager to know what was going to happen, I still liked the book very much and I’m excited to read more from Sashi Kaufman.

I received an electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss (thank you!). All opinions are my own.

This review first appeared on my blog.
Profile Image for Petty Lisbon .
296 reviews3 followers
September 11, 2019
This was a nice and short read. I didn't know if I would enjoy reading young adult, much less a road trip book, stories again, but this balanced the seriousness with lighthearted stuff. I'm glad it didn't focus too much on road trip mishaps as much as it focused on Andrew's relationship with himself and the people around him. I don't know if freegans are a real subculture (it just passed my autocheck, so I'm guessing it is) but this book made something potentially holier than thou and annoying into "just" a quirky subculture.
Profile Image for Sleepless Dreamer.
852 reviews221 followers
July 21, 2018
So after reading Game of Thrones, I wanted something fluffy and fun. This was definitely it.

I'm at this point of thinking about the future a lot. I'm going to finish army service in five months. Then I have 9 months to myself. And I can go volunteer in a high school in Spain or build houses in Uruguay or work in France or WOOF somewhere or couchsurf Europe or just roam around SEA. All of this makes me understand that it's not about knowing. All I really want is to live and experience. I'll get that, even if I stay home. It'll figure itself out (although damn, must work on it).

Anyway, it's clear to me that this book isn't going to be a very meaningful book, that Andrew won't stay with me. That said, this book provided me a lot of comfort. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

I liked that this book danced on the line between sincerity and exaggeration. I mean, you had descriptions that were ridiculous (his mom) and yet there were touching meaningful moments. It worked.

All in all, very cute book. It's good to read soft books for fun sometimes.

what I'm taking with me:
• G is hella cool. Really relatable.
• I wonder if the author ever did something like this. I'd love to be that, to do this myself.
• I think Emily's character was done well, as it showed the dysfunctional people you meet sometimes. However, not sure what I think about the end
• More Jesse was needed.
614 reviews9 followers
November 9, 2013
Say your parents have been divorced, you are at another new school – and at this one your mom is the principal – and you are turned off by school. Say your worst cousin – the one whose always calling you ‘gay’ and goes on to wet your bed – comes for Thanksgiving.

Solution? Take off! Now picture yourself at the Greyhound bus station buying a ticket to your grandmom’s place in faraway Indiana; hear yourself trying to tell the ticket guy you’re really 18 (you’re not)
when one of the girls sitting with four other hippie kind of kids, fools the ticket guy into thinking she’s your sister and your mom wants to have a last goodbye out in the car before you leave.

Then picture yourself leaving with the hippie kids’ in their VW Microbus to tour towns and cities – performing their own idea of a circus for cash and food as they head toward New Mexico, practically on the opposite side and corner of the country.

Will you fall in love, dumpster dive for actual good food, and begin to see another way around becoming more confident of yourself and possibly even seeing how you’d like to see your future?

Could be!

This is the best book I’ve read in a blue moon! If you read no other book, read this one!
Profile Image for Elizabeth Curington.
204 reviews23 followers
January 23, 2014
When Andrew's life starts falling apart around him, he sets out to visit his grandmother. It's a Thanksgiving tradition, after all. And if he has to take the bus alone to do it, fine.

Until he discovers there is more to the story, and he really might be as alone as he feels. Enter a random group of hippie teenagers who offer to take him along for the ride (quite literally).

Andrew never realized he might be living a priviledged life until he first sleeps in a van, finds dinner in a dumpster (long live Freegans), or earns his dinner as a dishwasher. A whole other world develops, and he may never go home again.

This story started off pretty light in content but went on to really pull at my heart and view of the world. While I won't be converting to Freeganism anytime soon, I certainly have a lot to think about. This is the way a road trip story should be--an On the Road for the young adult of 2014.
Profile Image for Emma L.
2 reviews44 followers
August 9, 2016
Wow! I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. The Other Way Around is a well written story of a boy figuring out who he really is, and who wants to be. The main character, Andrew, has never really had any friends, or got along well with his family. After having enough one Thanksgiving he decides to run away and he begins a crazy adventure that helps him discover himself and what he was missing in life. The characters in this book were great! The relationships between the characters are what make the story, and they were so relatable in so many different ways. I always love road trip stories, so this was just the story for me. I got sucked up into Andrew and the other character’s worlds, and I couldn’t put this book down. I am so thankful to Sashi Kaufman for writing such a memorable book! (I received this book for free through Goodreads first reads!! It was a great experience, Thanks)
Profile Image for Jennifer.
97 reviews1 follower
September 9, 2016
Loved this YA read! I picked it from my oldest's stack and he said, "Mom, you will love this book! The main character's experience is so cool, but don't worry I will never do that." Obviously I'm intrigued.......so I read......and loved the book. Life lessons abound. As a parent reading books from the YA perspective, I am always reminded how different their priorities are. The characters and their situations are complicated and I think the reader is sometimes asked to fill in the blanks. Not a bad thing, because anytime I am presented with an easy way to bring up tough topics with my teen I am grateful. I can't wait to hear more about what my 14 yo thought about the book.
Profile Image for Alana Mcconnell.
61 reviews31 followers
June 8, 2014
I'm really surprised this book has so few reviews. It has that sort of John Green-y feel, even though it was much more well written. The story was interesting, though I actually felt like the pre journey part where Andrew is in school, to be unnecessary and disconnected. I loved Andrews and Gs relationship though, but felt like Emily was freaking annoying and hat Andrew was too good for her, overall unique and a great read, I loved the topics of teen homelessness and freeganism.
Profile Image for Alex Ouellette.
32 reviews52 followers
April 19, 2014
this book is amazingly brilliant. i'm blown away by how much i loved it, considering i don't gravitate towards realistic fiction. i found myself laughing out loud and feeling sad for the characters. i recommend this book to anyone who likes john green. this gave me the feelings i feel while reading my all time favorite books. hats off to sashi kaufman!
Profile Image for Sara.
1,977 reviews10 followers
May 3, 2014
This was great. Aimless teen reaches his breaking point and tries to get on a bus to go visit his grandma. Along the way he falls in with a group of goodhearted homeless youths who travel around in an old van, Dumpster diving for food and performing street shows for gas money. The main character really comes into his own, and learns a lot from his new friends.
Profile Image for Sydney.
14 reviews
May 14, 2014
It was an amazing book. I enjoyed it a lot. I love the character. It had an interesting plot line. Sometimes, i want to run away and go on a little adventure. The book inspire me more to do that. Andrew was a cool guy. Really, all the character were cool. They had this hippie thing about them and they were street performer. It was an amazing book.
Profile Image for Stacey.
700 reviews
August 9, 2016
this book surprised me for some reason. i liked the people and the adventure and the point of the trip. as an aerialist, i had heart palpitations when they explained the trapeze setup however, and i kept holding my breath the entire book as a result.
10 reviews2 followers
August 28, 2015
Not that this is a "boy" book, but if you have a young man looking for a good read, may I suggest this book. A young adult book that you don't have to be a teen to enjoy. Recommending for adults as well as kids.
Profile Image for Elisabeth.
21 reviews
January 24, 2014
Really refreshing story for YA audiences. I was captivated from the very beginning to the very end. Great characters, vivid pictures and lovely story telling!
Profile Image for Karin Bengtsson.
285 reviews1 follower
August 23, 2017
Alltså, de här tonåringarna som jag identifierar mig mer med, som stämmer med mitt bortkomna tonårsjag, som är pinsamma och dryga och självklara - det är inte lika roligt att läsa om dem. Inte som high school-romanser och snabbkäftade personer.
Men att det inte är lika skojigt betyder inte att det inte är bra. Det här är en bra bok med trovärdig huvudperson som växer.
Lite festligt: att friganerna som Andrew hamnar med ligger så nära mina värderingar. (Jag skulle dumpstra om jag bara inte var en sån som blir så nervös av att inte följa regler - och om jag visste några affärer med olåsta containrar).
Lite irriterande: att alla vegetarianer, och den övertygade veganen, glatt äter kyckling när de blir bjudna på kyckling som levt under rimliga omständigheter. Vad fan. Alla vegetarianer drömmer inte om att äta kött.
44 reviews
December 8, 2019
I could tell by the first page that this book was going to be interesting, and I absolutely love it.
Profile Image for Kazhy (My Library in the Making).
371 reviews40 followers
April 14, 2014
(View this review on My Library in the Making.)

The Other Way Around started out really well. Andrew's voice grabbed me from page one, even before he ran away from home and made things interesting. I connected to his feeling of being lost and I loved his smarty mouth, but somewhere in the middle of this book when romance got involved, my interest waned.

I guess if I learned anything from the whole incident, besides that girls were completely baffling, it was not to imagine a future for myself that was dependent on anyone's feelings, even my own.

Andrew used to be a good kid, but one day he just found himself so disinterested in his future. He thinks there's no use fulfilling his parents' wishes for him to be a star student and finish college, and so he doesn't even bother trying. He just wants to go through the motions of life without really living it, but it all changes when he runs out of that life and meets the Freegans. His new life is, aside from having to worry about food, carefree, his new friends realistic but indulgent.

Wasn't it your responsiblity to sort all that "who am I" crap out before you had kids? I don't know how they can expect me to have the kind of answers that they don't even have when they've got like twenty-five years on me.

What's obvious was that Andrew's parents' divorce hit him hard. When his parents separated, they forgot that they had a son who needed their attention and love, and despite Andrew's bad grades, they really could've had it worse. I really pitied him because, in Andrew's own words, his parents were really shitty, and it was a relief to see him get away from all that (and give his parents a slight coronary).

"And this is supposed to make me feel better? You're getting a ride home with complete strangers, and I'm supposed to be glad that they're vegetarians?! Where in God's name did you meet this people?"

Everyone knows it's not smart to just drive off with total strangers, but Andrew wasn't going for smart - he was escaping, and the Freegans were the perfect people to do that with. Five teens who each had their own demons, they were straight-edge vegetarians who earned their keep by performing everywhere they could like a traveling circus. Andrew never imagined all the adventures he'd be in for by joining them, and that made for one fun, unpredictable read. I mean, killing chickens and dumpster-diving? Yep. But more than finding himself, Andrew found new friends, even a girlfriend. I didn't like his thing with Emily because it was easy to see that she only wanted him around for the drama and his attention, but he let his crotch do all the thinking, and that's when this book lost me.

Well-written and somewhat nostalgic, The Other Way Around hit home lots of times. I found it quite similar to Firecraker and Looking for Alaska, and fans of roadtrip books will surely love this. And even though the ending wasn't everything I'd hoped for, it was nothing if not realistic.

MY FAVORITE PART is Tim's flatulence =))
Profile Image for Lauren.
489 reviews1,638 followers
January 22, 2020
Read my full review on Lauren Reads YA (with GIFs and quotes!)

The Other Way Around was a pleasant surprise. For some reason (I think I might have just read part of the synopsis, not the whole thing), I didn’t expect it to be a road trip novel. I was too focused on the ‘his mom is the headmaster of his all-girls boarding school’-thing. The first few chapters were a bit boring, but once the main character Andrew starts travelling with the Freegans, it picks up and starts to get really interesting.

I loved how independent these young people were. It got me thinking about how I should really work on becoming more independent, and that maybe I need some big, life-changing journey of my own.
I also really liked their point of view on certain things like alcohol and drugs. I personally completely agree with their straight-edge way of living, and it’s probably the first book I’ve read in which this plays a role.

"Just then Tim shouts out, "TENS!!!" "All right," Jesse says. "I think there’s a rest stop up ahead."
"Tens is like ten minutes until you need a bathroom," Tim explains. "Fives is like five minutes. And if you yell turtles, that means it’s an emergency and whoever is driving should pull over at the nearest good-sized bush or tree."

I hated Emily, the girl who was supposedly the hottest of the group. She was the most annoying, selfish, and fucked-up character… I didn’t see why Andrew was so into her, other than the fact that she had boobs. She got more and more frustrating as the story went on, and I just wanted to cut off her dreadlocks and stuff them in her mouth to shut her up.

(But I have to admit, she did get a bit better at the end.)

G was my fave. She was cool and honest. I really liked her story and the moments she and Andrew bonded, especially the stargazing part. The only thing wrong with her is that her (nick)name annoyed the crap out of me.

I’d recommend this if you enjoy coming-of-age stories and road trip novels.
Profile Image for Estelle.
862 reviews80 followers
April 17, 2014
3.5 stars. Maybe a little more?

Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog

One of the main things that stuck with me after I finished The Other Way Around was Andrew’s unconventional character growth.

How many people run away from their home and their school and get involved in a road trip with a couple of hippies who are surviving by performing on the streets, stalking the best dumpsters, and, once in awhile, encountering the kindness of strangers? After dealing with so much pressure from his mother and the flakiness of his dad, Andrew has no one patrolling his every move or pushing him into situations that make him feel uncomfortable.

Ah, the sweet smell of freedom.

Well, it’s not actually that sweet since no one is showering regularly and dumpsters don’t exactly smell like flowers. But for the first time, Andrew is hanging out with kids around his age and the world is open to him in a whole different way. He has the space to think about his relationship with his parents and their divorce, and finally make some choices of his own.

This dynamic in young adult is so interesting to me as a reader, because as a teenager, how much control do you have over how your parents treat you? Do you ever get that opportunity to stand up for yourself or will you constantly be dismissed because of your age and lack of life experience?

Andrew’s growing friendship with G, his attraction to Emily, and experiences on the road (this might be strange but I really loved how vivid and descriptive the chicken scene was on their farm stop) all contribute to him opening up, connecting with other people, and learning how to talk to his mom. I liked that Kaufman made Andrew work for his relationships in the van, and didn’t have him totally turn away from his home either.

While it took a little time to get into the swing of The Other Way Around, I really enjoyed this — a fresh male POV, great stops along a road trip, and bravery found in strange places.

May 6, 2014
I really enjoyed reading The Other Way Around by Sashi Kaufman. The story begins when the main character, Andrew, is at school with his friend (pretty much only friend) Alex. Although Alex isn't to enthusiastic about school in general, never mind the all-girls school he attends, his mom is the headmistress. Alex has a lot of people in his life he really dislikes. For one, his cousin Barry, who's dad is oblivious to his actions. Andrew's dad has left and his mom is controlling and doesn't really understand him. The only person he really likes is Mima, his grandmother. When Barry comes to visit for Thanksgiving and does a number of things to get on Andrew's nerves, he is angry that he didn't get to see Mima like he normally does. He decides he has had enough and wants to take a bus to see Mima himself. Andrew sneaks out to the bus station, where his mom calls him. Lying that he is already on the bus, his mom tells him that Mima is dead and she didn't know how to tell him.

Meanwhile in the bus station, this girl comes over to Andrew and introduces herself as G. She shows him four other kids in the bus station and says that they are the Freegans. Emily, Jesse, Lyle, Tim, and G ask Andrew to join them if he wants, as they have all run away from home too. They do a sort of "traveling circus," to make all of the money they need. Andrew feels as if he still needs a break from his normal life, and decides to go off with the Freegans.

I really liked this book because of the characters and how they're pretty different from your average book characters. They are run-away vegans who dumpster dive and do circus acts. I didn't like Emily too much, but I ended up liking G and I think everyone can connect to a lot of what Andrew goes through. Another reason I like this book is because Andrew discovers a lot about himself by the end. He becomes more defiant and sure about himself. He also has a better relationship with his mom and people in general. His story is, in a way, inspiring.
Profile Image for Kimi.
93 reviews6 followers
May 30, 2014
Originally posted at Geeky Chiquitas

Reviewed by: Beryl

Almost everyone around Andrew West has their own impression about him. It's either he's goth, gay or emo. You might think that a boy studying in an all girls school, where his mom is the headmaster, is ultimately popular and has lots of friends, but Andrew is the complete opposite. When Andrew experiences an awful thanksgiving, he decides to just run away from home and maybe visit his grandmother's house. Instead of going to his grandmother, he catches a ride with a bunch of older teenagers, who apparently are Freegans. He follows them as they go to different places, eat food from dumpsters and his adventure goes on.

Honestly, it took me a long time to read this book. At first, the book didn't catch my attention even when I read the synopsis of the plot, but while I was reading the book I found myself slowly liking it. First of all, the writing style was easy to understand and thrilling at the same time. The pace was just right, and the author truly knows when to prolong an event. For me, Andrew was a good character but his love interest did not appeal to me. Out of all the characters, Emily was the one I didn't like so much. The plot wasn't that unique, but it wasn't that cliche either. When I reached half way through the book, I seriously loved it.

There was nothing really special about this book, everything was average. I didn't really know why I gave this book a 4-star rating. It seems like it didn't deserve any higher or any lower. To summarize the whole book in one sentence, it would probably be I enjoyed it.

That was basically the selling point for me. Any book that I enjoy is good for me because I don't want to force myself to read a book that I don't enjoy.
Profile Image for Sherri.
1,888 reviews36 followers
September 13, 2014
Andrew West’s life is going nowhere. Even though he’s only one of a handful of guys at a private all-girls boarding school, he is ignored by all the girls. It doesn’t help that his mother is the new headmaster, the “dragon lady.”

Since they’re at the same school, his mom now pays more attention to his poor grades. Then, Andrew finds out that instead of visiting his beloved grandma for Thanksgiving, his mom has invited his clueless uncle and annoying cousin to their house. Plus, his mom is still angry at his father, years after their divorce, especially now that his father is too busy in the Bahamas with his younger physical therapist to spend time with his son.

When Thanksgiving turns into a disaster, Andrew heads to the bus station to visit his grandma only to learn that she had died earlier in the week but his parents didn’t know how to tell him. At the station, he meets the “Freegans”--five older vegetarian/vegan teens living in an old VW camper van who are committed to clean living with no drugs, booze or cigarettes. Most of their food comes out of dumpsters and they earn cash through acrobatic street performances. As Andrew travels around the country with this eclectic group, his journey is more than the physical distance he travels, as it shapes his heart and mind as he ponders his own directionless future.

The book’s opening was so funny, I hoped for more of it throughout the story. Most teen guys will relate to Andrew, especially those with uncertain career plans and demanding parents. Even teen girls will enjoy tagging along for Andrew’s road trip and learning about the power of inner strength, friendship, and how sometimes the journey is more important than the actual destination.
Profile Image for Harolyn Legg.
297 reviews1 follower
March 19, 2014
I got this one to write a review of - and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to rate it. Andrew's life is complicated - his parents are divorced, he's not doing well at school which is bad because his mother is the principal and he has no real interest in much of anything. His uncle and cousin come for Thanksgiving - and in between his cousin telling him hundreds of reasons why he believes Andrew is gay and wetting Andrew's bed (his cousin is having issues with his parents' divorcing among other things), Andrew decides to go see his Mima. When he leaves the house and heads for the bus station, he intends to go to Indiana to visit his grandmother. One small problem though - his mother hasn't told him that Mima has died. This sends him over the edge and when a young girl approaches him at the bus station and asks him if he wants to bum a ride with her and her friends, he does. As they travel from what is basically one hippie commune or home to another, Andrew grows close to G (the girl who asked him to go), Emily, Jessie, Lyle and Tim. Emily starts flirting with Andrew and as his feelings for her grow, he can't figure out how she feels about him. Dumpster diving, gymnastic and acrobatic shows, and street performing get them enough money for gas and occasionally food but it is the stories of how these kids ended up together that bind the story together. A look at teen angst, betrayal and heartbreak, it took a while to get into this book but overall not a bad read. Something happens at Christmastime that makes Andrew reevaluate his life.
Profile Image for grieshaber.reads .
1,583 reviews38 followers
September 29, 2014
Andrew's parents are divorced and neither are handling it appropriately (as evidenced through their parenting). Andrew is doing terrible in school (no thanks to his mom being the headmistress of St. Mary's, the mostly all-girls' school he attends). Andrew runs away from home Thanksgiving night (after his despised, bullying cousin pisses in Andrew's bed). He decides to buy a bus ticket to visit his beloved grandma, Mimi (where he should be on Thanksgiving). When he calls his mom to let her know, she tells him that Mimi is dead. Um, what? No way is he going back home. The pack of teenagers huddled in the corner of the bus station overhear Andrew's phone call and invite him to come with them and their traveling show (they are street performers). What the hell? He accepts.

The Other Way Around is the story of Andrew finding himself through new experiences. He is able to relate many of his experiences to the paperback he brings along - Into the Wild. Reminded me of another book I read this year called, Being Henry David. Like BHD, this one is also well written and will be enjoyed by the right teen. As for Gateway, it's a no - not wide enough appeal.
Profile Image for Brittany.
1,035 reviews17 followers
March 3, 2014
Andrew West is another great teen male voice that all will enjoy. He's really unsure of himself, he has strained relationships with most everyone in his life, and wants nothing more than to be understood by someone. When he flees his family on Thanksgiving, he finally finds what he's looking for in a bus station. It's a van full of hippies who invite him along on their journey - in both senses of the word. A lot of what happens will really make you check your eye-rolling reflex, but Andrew's journey itself really comes a long way. He is a pleasure to read and get to know. His insecurities are real and will appeal equally to both boys and girls. He's funny and sweet and a good friend. I couldn't wait to read the end of his story and was pleased with the ending.
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