Tom Grendel lives a quiet life—writing in his notebooks, mowing lawns for his elderly neighbors, and pining for Willow, a girl next door who rejects the “manic-pixie-dream” label. But when Willow’s brother, Rex (the bro-iest bro ever to don a jockstrap), starts throwing wild parties, the idyllic senior citizens’ community where they live is transformed into a war zone. Tom is rightfully pissed—his dad is an Iraq vet, and the noise from the parties triggers his PTSD—so he comes up with a plan to end the parties for good. But of course, it’s not that simple.
One retaliation leads to another, and things quickly escalate out of control, driving Tom and Willow apart, even as the parties continue unabated. Add to that an angsty existential crisis born of selectively reading his sister’s Philosophy 101 coursework, a botched break-in at an artisanal pig farm, and ten years of unresolved baggage stemming from his mother’s death…and the question isn’t so much whether Tom Grendel will win the day and get the girl, but whether he’ll survive intact.
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 all of that I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun and exciting read that I didn’t want to put down. I read it in a day or two because it was fun and the characters kept me wanting to come back and see how they defeated the neighbors. I thought Grendel was caring and quirky. I loved how much he loved his dad, his sister, and Ed. I liked how he cared about all the old ladies in his neighborhood. I thought he was sweet and hardworking. I enjoyed him immensely.
I found myself really enjoying Zipora, Grendel’s sister. She was sassy and wild. I thought she brought a slight bit of ‘over the top’ness to the story. The same goes for Ed. He was full of quirks and odd little tidbits. His job made me laugh, and his dream of making wine was interesting for sure.
Overall, this story was fun. The antics these characters got into were amusing and entertaining. I enjoyed learning all about the characters and seeing what kind of chaos would be created in their next plan to end the parties next door. It wasn’t anything that blew me out of the water but it was well written and enjoyable to read.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.