Newton Starker's Rules for Survival
For over two hundred years, everyone in the Starker family has died after being hit by lightning, leaving only two-- Great-Grandmother Enid, whose secret to a long life is to grumble about everything, and fourteen-year-old Newton. Determined to break the curse, he enrols in the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where students must navigate the outdoors, the very place Newton's mother warned him about.
Newton knows that information is power, and so he steadfastly follows his rules for survival. He obsessively checks weather reports before venturing anywhere. He never takes a bath or answers the phone during a lightning storm. But life slowly amps up, and before Newton knows it, he is weathering storms he can't control, including battling Violet Quon, who is equally resolved to get her picture up in the Hall of Heroes, and preparing for First Year Expedition, which is his chance to prove he's the ultimate survivor.
What a fun book to read. I wasn't sure of what to think when I requested this book from the reading club but I always enjoy a good YA book and this was no exception.
The premise of Newton being the last surviving member of the Starker family to escape being struck by lightning is funny in it`s ghoulishness. That is such an incredibly remote concept...a whole family that somehow acts as a lightning rod and 'beckons' lightning to flow through them and killing them.
We have all been warned by our families about what to do in the event of a thunderstorm so most of these warnings are familiar but I am sure the majority of us could never envisage this strange occurrence happening to us.
I thought that Newton was such an interesting kid. He was so practical about his inevitable fate and he barely allowed his emotional self the room to feel sorrow and grief for the loss of his mother and his lack of friends or bemoan the increased distance between he and his father.
The time that he spends at the Jerry Pott's Academy is so eye-opening for him. he learns so much about his social self...the hidden part who actually yearned for a connection with someone.
He even forms a relationship with his Great-Grandmother Enid and creeps past her defences.
I am eager to read more of Arthur Slade's books.... he has a delightfully twisted imagination that appeals to YA and grownups alike.