Monday, August 11, 2014

Pizza and Pages: Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jorden Sonnenblick

Type of Book: Realistic

Plot Summary:

When San Lee starts eighth grade at a new school, he makes the decision to become someone completely different. As luck would have it, he accidentally answers too many questions about zen in his World History and thus becomes known as the school's resident zen master.Now San has to decide whether to come clean to everyone, including a cute girl named Woody, or keep playing the part.

Average Teen Rating: 5.03

My teens, for the most part, did not care for this book. They felt like it was too slow, though to be fair, most of them are hard-core fantasy/sci-fi fans. I did have a couple of teens that gave it high marks, though the bulk of the ratings were between 3 and 6.

Discussion Questions:

1. What do you think about San creating a different past/identity for himself as a Zen master being the new kid? Would you ever do something similar if you could start over at a new school?

2. Have you ever lied about yourself to impress others? Were there any consequences? Would you do it again?

3. San knows that he should tell Woody the truth about himself, but doesn’t. When do you think he should have?

4. Did you guess who ELL was before it was revealed?

5. Do you think San ended up being a Zen master in the end or was he still just faking it?

6. Do you think San was right in his feelings for his dad? Would you forgive him if you were San?

7. Do you agree or disagree with the way San’s mom felt about his father? Was San or his mom more justified in their feelings?

8. Woody also has some family issues, which was the reason for changing her name. Do you think that helped her deal with her situation?

9. Have you ever studied the art of zen and/or meditated? Did it help you?

(You can also find questions on the Multnomah County Library's site.)

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