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Grendel's Guide to Love and War

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,021 ratings  ·  245 reviews
The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets Revenge of the Nerds in this tale of a teen misfit who seeks to take down the bro next door, but ends up falling for his enemy’s sister and uncovering difficult truths about his family in the process.

Tom Grendel lives a quiet life—writing in his notebooks, mowing lawns for his elderly neighbors, and pining for Willow, a girl next door
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 18th 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Texaslibrarylady I agree that it depends on the 14 year old, for a mature 14 year old it would be fine. The novel contains the following content: underage drinking, a …moreI agree that it depends on the 14 year old, for a mature 14 year old it would be fine. The novel contains the following content: underage drinking, a sexual situation that doesn't go beyond two characters being half naked, hugging and kissing and discussing condoms, discussion by one misogynistic 21 year old character of the many girls he has had sex with, and some cursing. I think a more mature 14+ reader would understand and appreciate the themes about life, legacy, and finding one's place in the world. It's a great read, but probably not for the less mature.(less)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,021 ratings  ·  245 reviews

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May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relationships, 2017, ya, humour
This was a quirky fun debut novel. Tom Grendel is spending his summer break mowing lawns to save money for his college fund and interviewing old ladies so he can collect their stories before they are lost forever. Tom and his Dad live in a neighbourhood mostly populated by old ladies, which suits his Dad, an army major suffering for PTSD, just fine. When a new family moves in next door following a marriage breakup and the mother, a journalist is sent interstate to cover a disaster, the teenagers ...more
the burning dreamer.
You had me at existential angst.

Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reviews
I’m not sure how to describe “Grendel’s Guide to Love and War.” It isn’t as deep as it could be, considering Tom Grendel has a very difficult life, including a father suffering from severe PTSD. Yet it does evoke quite a few emotions by just skimming the surface of the issues he’s dealing with. It is also hilarious. Laugh out loud hilarious. If you’re looking for a fast read with a bit of an emotional roller coaster, give it a try.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided
Taylor Knight
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
This was such a refreshing read. The narrative was really wonderful and the characters really made this book special.
Grendel's Guide to Love and War started off great. Even from the first few pages, I really loved it. I don't often find books that made me laugh out loud but Grendel's Guide did. The first or second chapter had me laughing like crazy.
The main character, Tom Grendel, was so well written and such a wonderful person. His father is a veteran and suffers from PTSD and Tom was so will
Amanda Searcy
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This books was so much fun. I laughed out loud several times. If you have ever spent a sleepless night listening to bass pound through the wall and plotting revenge on the neighbors, this book is for you! Grendel and his best friend Ed (my new most favorite best friend in all of YA) come up with the most ingenious ways to stop the late night parties next door, only to have them backfire spectacularly (and hilariously). The relationships between all the quirky characters feel very real, and you w ...more
 Megan • Reading Books Like a Boss (book blog)

If you're a fan of John Hughes and all of the fantastic teenage posses of the 1980's then you're going to want to read this GRENDEL'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND WAR. Set in the present day, Tom Grendel, his best friend Ed, and Tom's crush Willow, get into mischief and mayhem, and I enjoyed every second.

Tom and his dad live in a quiet neighbor that's primarily populated by elderly folk. This works out perfectly for Tom's dad, an Iraqi war vet, whose PTSD is less likely to be triggered in this usually
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Tom no," Zip said. "Tom," I said, "yes."

* * * * *
5 / 5

This book managed to be a hilarious, witty, endearing and slightly heartbreaking page turner all at once. I was thoroughly impressed. This book had such a solid main cast from Tom Grendel himself, lawn mower and interviewer of old ladies, to his wild actress sister Zip, best friend Ed, and unruly teenagers next door, Willow and Rex (bro-iest bro ever to bro). It also managed to be so lighthearted and genuinely funny whilst touching on some s
Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews
YAY! Got this from Netgalley!
Cant wait to start it!
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
2.8 stars. Ugh I really wanted to like you Tom Grendel.

In short, I felt nothing while reading this book. I really don't know how to explain it but I wasn't a bit interested in the story or the characters, I guess I just kept reading because I was waiting for something to happen or surprise me.

I only finished it because the last part was kind of..."nice" let's say, and I wanted to know how it ended having gotten that far.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent YA novel. Full of Beowulf references. I am not a Beowulf scholar, but I really liked all the characters and the way they dealt with their problems.
Quite The Novel Idea ~ Words from the Clouds

This was such a nice surprise! This is one of those books I requested on Netgalley impulsively because it sounded good and like something I might enjoy. I didn't really expect much of it but I was thrilled when I got approved. So I started reading it and then I ended up loving it quite a bit. I do love it when that happens. Though this might not be a new super-favorite and it didn't really wow me or anything, I still enjoyed it a whole lot. So let's ge
anna c-s
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
*4.5/5 stars

sometimes you find some great books from places you don’t expect, and that’s what this book was for me! i noticed it on the shelf of my local library after we had just finished a unit on beowulf & also grendel by john gardner, so i was drawn to the title instantly & picked it up on a whim. i really enjoyed it actually! it was humorous & intelligent, & kind of reminded me of a john green novel which i was definitely in the mood for after recently finishing turtles all the way down (wh
****ARC provided in exchange for an honest review***

A modern adaptation of Beowulf. Grendel's Guide to Love and War was a tough read for me. The description sounded quirky and interesting. Sadly I made it to about 69% and struggled to want to know how it will all end. Written with a younger audience in mind, the well written high jinx and endless pranks would definitely appeal more to an adolescent male audience. Which delights me all the same, since most teen/young adult books seem to be writte
Caitlin (thebookshire)
This is definitely a unique story! Tom is an interesting character, though what I liked best about him was simply that most of his close friends were just old widows whom he sort of looked after, and he definitely gets up to some strange antics in what has to be the most intense prank war of all time.

What I would have liked to see more of was his relationship with his father - I mean, his dad is one of the most interesting characters in the book, and he disappears for more than half of it - and
lucky little cat
Plentiful broad humor never gets in the way of this novel's surprising sweetness.
yup, that's how we get ants
Nerdteen nice-guy Tom Grendel just wants peace and quiet, but he'll sink to a running war of creative retaliatory pranks against the party animals next door if he has to.
keywords: the return of the Bumpus hounds; wistfully missing mom; hey petunia; Miss Enigmatic lives next door & maybe likes me; don't call me darling, you bastard; I was taught to always be polite to old battle-ax biddies;
Amanda B
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is another book I read because I will be meeting the author in the near future. I don’t think it’s something I would have gone out of my way to pick up and read otherwise. Despite this, I really enjoyed reading it. After reading the authors note at the end of the book, I learned that the goal was to create a loose retelling of Beowulf. Now, I have never actually read Beowulf but have a general understanding of the topics within. So, I cannot speak to the accuracy of the retelling.
Aside from
Lulu (the library leopard)
Quirky and hilarious, though I feel like it got a bit old by the end. Also, I really wasn't a fan of the running gag with Zip and Ed. ...more
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(Read as an ARC.)
Aw geez, rip my heart in pieces why don't you? I crushed on Tom Grendel from page 1 and still miss him a few days after reading (is that gross? I'm waaay older than Zip). Such a great (and funny) story about memories and healing- I finished it just before 9/11 and all the newspapers were printing stories about families finding healing several years later, and Kaplan's book was so in-line with those experiences. Nailed it. Brava.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book had me laughing out loud - a lot - and feeling a tug at my heart - a lot. Tom Grendel. What a guy. And what a story, with quirky, memorable characters. So much humor and wit and the sadness of loss and memory - Tom's summer and his quest to not only shut down the shenanigans next door but to work his way through his grief will stay with me for a long time. ...more
M.Elizabeth Rival
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
I checked this out thinking it was a literary reimagining of Beowulf. It turned out to be a pretty cute YA novel about high schoolers that I actually enjoyed more than actual Beowulf, a fact that led me to the promised titular existential angst. Is this who I am? Is this what I'm in to? Sigh, guess so. ...more
Melissa Ziegler
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
overall not really that good but it was exactly what I needed rn soooo
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
**I received this as an egalley from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**

This book was funny, heart-warming, and all too real at times, making for a great story that was fun to read and made you think all the same. A strongly modernized retelling of Beowulf from Grendel's point-of-view, this book follows Tom Grendel who falls into a prank war with his neighbor in an attempt to stop the music-blaring parties that are triggering his father's post-Iraq PTSD. In fact, I didn't even realize th
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"No matter how much I wanted to ignore the situation, I couldn't forget: there were more important things than what I wanted.
'It means,' I said, 'that I am about to own Rex Rothgar.'
'What do you have in mind?'
Boldness. Brilliance. Manliness.
I said, 'Guile.'"

Tom Grendel lives in a neighborhood of senior citizens, where he finds simple pleasure in doing lawn work and interviewing the elderly community about their lives.

Sounds like a blast, I know, but the summer has different plans.

Willow Rothgar,
Christopher Green
I'm having a hard time deciding how I feel about this book. I love the idea of Grendel being a peculiar kid wanting to shut down his neighbor's parties. I like Grendel's overall characterization. He's significantly different from his peers without the author playing into the outcast loner trope. I like that the author makes a point of having several people invite Grendel to the parties to make it clear that feeling left out isn't his motivation to try to shut the parties down. These feel like st ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was incredibly fun, thoughtful, energetic and quirky. It's everything you want from a good YA book: hints of Catcher in the Rye with none of the terrible slowness but definitely some of the introspective moments (only with LOTS of humor), diverse and unique characters making and breaking relationships and coming to grips with themselves, their place in the world, and the meaning of love and memory.

Based loosely on Beowolf (something I learned from the author's note, not knowing more than th
Kate Olson
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book deserves ALL the stars!

First, let's talk about this whole Beowulf thing. I honestly knew NOTHING about this book when I started reading it - I didn't even read the official blurb until after the fact. I requested it from NetGalley because as a school librarian I request every single middle grade and YA title and sample a gazillion of them, only finishing the ones that grab me within the first chapter or so. This one grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I laughed and I cried, sometimes si
Rachel Reeves
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets Revenge of the Nerds in the description intrigued me with this one, but I didn't really get much of either from it honestly. "What is the point of this?" what my thought through most of the book, and I just didn't really enjoy it. Good aspects of the book got buried in the prank business going on, and the book just lost me early on and never caught me. I e
Actual rating: 2.5. Grendel lives in a neighborhood full of little old ladies who worship him. This works out great for Grendel because Mom is dead, big sis is in New York, and Dad’s PTSD is so bad that he has basically checked out of life. When his two favorite old ladies right next door move out, a world-traveling reporter moves in with her two teenagers. One of these teens is Willow - a girl with whom Grendel has long been in love (long story). The other is Rex Rothgar. A total bro who hates ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A. E. Kaplan, 320 pages. Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random), 2017. Language: R (74 swears, 0 ‘f’) Mature Content: PG Violence: PG (mild violence)

In this comedic retelling of the well-known epic Beowulf, Thomas Grendel is having an easy summer crushing after a girl he likes and hanging around his colorful neighborhood, if you don’t count the wild parties his neighbor Rex has each night. They are bothering his father, who has been suffering from
Jul 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books, 2022
I actually really really liked this book. It told a charming and quaint story in a small town with likable characters that were humorous and witty enough to make me laugh but not so much that I thought it was hammy. It really was the perfect mix. The story didn’t blow me away with deep symbolism but I don’t think it was really supposed to. It’s message was clear, discussing and displaying the importance of preserving the past and memories. I thought Grendel himself was a really great main charac ...more
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