Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: Ship Out of Luck

Ship Out of Luck
Ship Out of Luck
Published by: Dutton Juvenile
Release date: June 13, 2013
Genre: YA humorous fiction
256 pages
Source: hard copy kindly provided by publisher

For Antsy Bonano, the third book's a charm.

I had read the original Antsy book, The Schwa Was Here, and thought it was a fun little humorous novel, perfect for adolescent boys. In preparation for reading Ship Out of Luck, I also read book 2, Antsy Does Time- which was more of the same fun, with a theme that was a bit more serious. With book 3, I got the fun from book 1, with  moments of mature discussion of social issues. There are spots that I have marked just because I want to be able to share a few of the gems of prose I found sprinkled in these pages.

Antsy Bonano is an Italian-American boy from Brooklyn who is skilled at letting his soft heart get him into messy situations. His given name is Anthony, but in his neighborhood, it's useful to have a nickname to distinguish whose mother is calling for which Anthony- so the childhood nickname has stuck. Antsy has a remarkable relationship with a rich older gentleman in his neighborhood, Old Man Crawley. Crawley invites Antsy and his family to join him and his granddaughter on a cruise to celebrate his birthday.

Antsy's misadventures begin before he even boards the ship: he promises his friend Howie that he can go on the trip in place of his older brother, who is unable to go. Sorting out how to fix things so that Howie can use Frankie's ticket is the beginning of Anty's trouble in the book.

Once he is aboard, Antsy immediately meets an exotic girl, Tilde, who ropes him into helping her with some questionable activities. Antsy, the mess of a boy with a good heart, believes in her good intentions, and ends up sacrificing much of the fun of his vacation. In the end, he is poised to sacrifice even more.

Crawley's granddaughter Lexie is back in this book, struggling with her own trials while Antsy is busy with his- and Antsy's friend Howie is also wrestling demons. As Antsy interacts with Lexie, Howie and Tilde, he and his friends make some remarkably mature observations about the nature of love, family, stereotypes, and tolerance.

This is a great story, brilliantly written. If you, or your teen, would enjoy a humorous adventure with bits of wisdom for seasoning, this is a great pick.

Summary from Goodreads:

The uproarius companion to "The Schwa was Here" and "Antsy Does Time"

In honor of Old Man Crawley’s eightieth birthday, the Bonano family has been invited to celebrate with a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean aboard the world’s largest, grandest ship. But whether on land or at sea, Antsy can’t manage to stay out of trouble: He quickly finds himself the accomplice of stowaway and thief Tilde, whose self-made mission it is to smuggle onto the ship and across the U.S. border illegal immigrants from her native Mexico. When Antsy steps in to take the fall for Tilde, he becomes the focus of a major international incident and the poster child for questionable decisions.

Equal parts clever and riotous, Ship Out of Luck brings back the beloved cast of characters from Neal Shusterman’s acclaimed The Schwa Was Here and Antsy Does Time.


  1. Awesome review! Based on the teaser yesterday I added to my list.

  2. Great! Shusterman gets better with every novel he produces. You won't be disappointed.


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