Sunday, November 18, 2012

From Theory to Practice: The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything by J.J. Johnson
Peachtree, 2012

*Book provided by publisher via Armchair BEA - thank you!*

Sarah Jones's life was turned upside down when her best friend Jamie died a few months ago in a freak accident that she blames herself for. In the time SJD (Since Jamie Died), Sarah has become snarky, pushes people away including her sweetheart boyfriend, cuts class, and the only thing she seems to love anymore is her dog, Ruby. When a minor mishap leads Sarah taking a job at a Christmas tree farm run by a man with a tragic past of his own, she discovers that the physical labor helps her deal with her emotional pain.

This book felt like I actually only got half of a story. For the first half of the book, readers are seeing what happened to Sarah that has made her this way - grumpy, mopey, the reason her parents her fight and her brother hates her - and that's all important, I understand that all that background is important. However, I didn't feel like the plot really got moving until about halfway through when Sarah starts working at the tree farm. That was when she finally starts to move forward and we see a growth in her. But then since the setup took so long, I found the ending to be a bit on the unsatisfactory side, like there's another half of this book that they forgot to print that really ties up more of what happened to these characters and the situations they're currently in.

The writing was fair, definitely snarky which was the author's intent. I did find it a little weird that Sarah had no problem talking about sex and admits that she's a bitch a lot of the time (her word, though I'd agree with it), but then the most derogatory thing she ever calls someone is a jerk or a dork and is constantly saying how 'ninja' someone is - her term for cool. It just wasn't the most consistent voice in my mind, however, Sarah is grieving so maybe that played a role...I'm not sure.

All in all, I really wanted to like this story. When I read the initial premise, it sounded like something that was right up my alley, but it just didn't quite hit the right notes with me. I still plan on reading J.J. Johnson's previous novel, This Girl is Different, at some point if I get the chance, though.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading.

J.J. Johnson's Website

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