Reviews for 33 Minutes
Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
The title notwithstanding, it takes 95 eventful minutes between 11:41 a.m. and 1:16 p.m. for nerdy middle-school math whiz Sam to experience the terror of knowing that he is going to get his butt kicked by former best buddy Morgan; possibly acquire a girlfriend; be clobbered by a salad bowl during a massive food fight; and then actually get his butt kicked after joining a chaotic science-lab evacuation due to arson. Along with making protracted fun of clueless teachers, school lunches, and other traditional targets, the story chronicles the dissolution of a long childhood friendship due to diverging interests and abilities. Sam fills in the background history and grudgingly reveals that the widening rift is at least as much his fault as it is Morgan's. This portrays a common preadolescent life change with fair insight; readers will enjoy the general tumult and perhaps find reassurance in seeing that, by the end, Sam and Morgan have so thoroughly gone their separate ways that even their enmity has vanished. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 November #2
Brainy seventh-grader Sam Lewis actually takes 1 hour and 35 minutes to let go of the idea that he and former best bud Morgan Sturtz can still be friends. First, there's the agonizing wait for the fight Morgan has promised at recess. Sam has done something quite stupid, though readers don't learn exactly what that is until well into his narrative. Chapters headed by the time of day describe a tedious social studies class, an epic cafeteria food fight ending with a salad-bowl blow to Sam's head, a fire drill that turns out to be real and, finally, a solid right to Sam's chin. Though the details are specific—and funny—the sad situation is not unusual. In middle school, Morgan has shot up physically and found his place on the football team; Sam, still short and skinny, stars at math. Six elementary school years together and an amazing day of shared video game mastery is not enough to sustain their friendship. New neighbor Chris Tripadero fans the flames. This realistic picture of early teen life includes at least one aware teacher who counsels patience and advises Sam that he won't be there forever. Readers will probably appreciate the message. Occasional hand-lettered black-and-white sketches add to the appeal of this satisfying school story. (Fiction. 10-13) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #2
Adult author Hasak-Lowy (Captives) makes his middle-grade debut with an entertaining story about the shifting nature of friendship. Sam and Morgan used to be best friends, but a new kid named Chris has driven them apart, with Morgan joining the football team and becoming one of the most popular seventh graders. As the novel opens, the titular countdown to the moment when Morgan is scheduled to beat up Sam has begun, and Sam's flashbacks to the events surrounding their friendship's dissolution intermix with that last half hour of safety at school. The supporting cast is only lightly developed, and Chris comes across as a one-dimensional villain, rather than the more complex character that his background suggests (readers learn, for instance, that his parents are seldom around). Nonetheless, Hasak-Lowy gives Sam an amusingly discursive narrative voice (on getting his "butt kicked": "f you knew someone was going to kick you some place, would you not hope for that place to be your butt?") through which he dissects the middle school experience and his loss of a friend. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 February
Gr 5-8--Sam Lewis has been Morgan Sturtz's best friend all through elementary school. Despite Morgan's rise to popularity because of his football ability and Sam's small stature and securely cemented position as school nerd and math genius, he'd assumed their friendship would last forever. Enter new kid Chris Tripadero and an incident involving a note Sam scribbled in anger that remains unexplained for the majority of the book, and all of sudden Sam finds himself waiting in both fear and sadness for his former best friend to seek him out and kick his butt. At times mundane, as when readers wade through a slow-moving social-studies class, but with its fair share of high-stakes action, the novel does an excellent job of traversing the wilds of middle school drama. Sam triumphs in finding a friendship and love interest in fellow geek Amy Takahara, and his security in his own intelligence and worth is reassuring, but the heart of the story is the very real failure of his friendship with Morgan to survive the changes that come with adolescence. Occasional cartoon illustrations add some humor to the story, but seem unnecessary in what is already a strong and refreshingly straightforward portrait of identity and shifting-friendship trials.--Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City [Page 104]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.