Posted in 5 Stars, Book Review

REVIEW: Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy


Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Formats Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Audible

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Maybe not kill-all-the-dinosaurs bad, but at least kill-everyone-in-California-and-wipe-out-Japan-with-a-tsunami bad. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been recruited to aid NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. 

The good news is Yuri knows how to stop the asteroid–his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But the trouble is, even though NASA asked for his help, no one there will listen to him. He’s seventeen, and they’ve been studying physics longer than he’s been alive. 

Then he meets (pretty, wild, unpredictable) Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and live a life worth saving. 

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with the questions of the universe. 

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

(True Rating: Infinite Stars, and an Asteroid Too)

Even though we have five months and some change left to go before we bid 2016 adieu, I’m fairly certain that this will be my favorite NetGalley read of the year.

I’ve had a lot of disappointing and mediocre reading experiences this year, so I wasn’t expecting much from Katie Kennedy’s Learning to Swear in America. Sure, the blurb sounded fantastic, but when you read as much as I do, you quickly learn not to place much hope on that back-cover text.

The writing is excellent. The story is excellent. The characters are–brace yourself–excellent. This book is endlessly quotable. I tried to choose just one snipped to include in this review, but that simply can’t be done, so prepare yourself for a beautiful literary onslaught:

Dovie exerted a giant gravitational force. She was the closest thing to Jupiter of anyone he’d ever met, but you probably couldn’t say that to a girl.

“I’m late because I’m raging against the machine, Mrs. Lee.”

He hit “send,” and wondered how good NASA’s bullshit detector was. Their other detectors were pretty good.

“So I have to give you advice without any idea what you’re talking about.”


“In that situation, I always turn to Immanuel Kant.”

“You’re very grave.”

“I’m always grave about gravity.”

But it had only taken him a cell phone and fifty seconds to hack in–not because he was a genius, but because he was a teenager.

If you follow my reviews, you know I normally go into a little more detail as to why I like or dislike a particular title, but here, words are insufficient. Learning to Swear in America is so many things: a young adult novel, a coming-of-age tale. It’s a story of first love and near apocalypse and what it means to be human–not Russian, not American, just human. If I were a betting woman, I would bet a fortune and a half that this book will be considered a classic in fifty years.

Read it. Read it now.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.



Olivia Ard is the author of women's fiction trilogy The Bennett Series and Readers' Favorite 5-Star recipient 'Tis the Season. She is pursuing a second degree in sociology. She and her husband JD live in Central Alabama, where they await their miracle baby's arrival this November with joyful expectation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s