Ray Vs The Meaning Of Life is a young adult, realistic fiction by Michael F. Stewart and is set to be published on May 15th, 2018.
Grandma’s Last Will and Testament names Ray to inherit the trailer park. It’s a million-dollar estate with one hitch: to prove he’s not as aimless as he seems, Ray must discover the meaning of life by the end of the month. (She left the answer in an envelope.) If he fails, the camp goes to his estranged family.
How does anyone find the meaning of life while running a park full of misfit miners, would-be truck racers, and one demanding little girl? There’s a bear too. A grizzly. Maybe that’ll help?
Ray Vs The Meaning Of Life is the perfect coming of age story mixed with a little philosophy that sits well with the teenage protagonist, and gives enough for the reader to ponder over in a good way.
The main idea of the story really piqued me. Ray’s grandmother has passed away and left behind a will. This will clearly states that her property [a trailer park] worth a million dollars is being passed onward to her grandson, Ray, but on one condition: he should tell the lawyer the meaning of life in a month’s time and upon cross checking with the grandmother’s pre-written answer, the judgement would be made.
Doesn’t that sound interesting? This book was a pick of one of the rare times when I get drawn because of the blurb. Anyway, the story didn’t disappoint. Not only did this mysterious answer held me to the book but the different themes that were elaborated in this context was equally engrossing.
The characters are extremely well developed. It is always a pleasure to witness evident changes in a character’s arc; it makes me feel like I read through someone’s journey. Ray and all the supporting characters come alive through the pages and you feel all sorts of emotions while reading about them–you would get angry, feel like slapping them at times, might even curse, but then there would be instances where you want to hug them and applaud them.
I strongly feel that a young-adult book especially one that’s majorly focused on the main character’s growth, should consist of a great team of side characters who contribute to the MC’s life while living their own personalities. And this is exactly what I got in this book. In fact, I would say this was a five star read because of the long list of fictional people I ended up loving in this.
The writing is right up my alley with a first person point-of-view and a humorous undertone to everything, sometimes a frustrated one because we’re talking about a teenager here. The thoughts and dialogues do complete justice to the character’s motivations and goals. As much as this writing made me laugh, it made me pause and think equally as much with the whole meaning of life pointers that were subtly popping up here and there.
Overall, I strongly recommend this book to not only the young adults but to everyone out there who wants to read a story that makes them think and love the characters who made them think.
Michael F. Stewart embraces all forms of storytelling. In 2009, he created Bully For You for Scholastic Canada, a fully functioning social media platform with an embedded interactive story. He’s written graphic novels for Rubicon Publishing’s Boldprint series, illustrated early readers and novellas for Pearson (coming in 2019!), non fiction texts on Corruption and Children’s Rights; he even tried to convince the world that we needed a location based storytelling app with augmented reality (NARR8R)-we still do! He’s written adult horror, sci-fi, urban fantasy, and adventure. He’s even written books you’ll never find. But nothing is ever wasted. His most recent book, Counting Wolves, a contemporary YA, was named to Kirkus Reviews “Best Books of 2017” list. The Boy Who Swallows Flies (2018) won Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award, and the Assured Destruction Series won The Creation of Stories: Best YA Award at the Toronto International Book Fair. In 2016, Michael was selected to join the CFC/Entertainment One TV Adaptation Lab. Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s Writer in Residence and runs free writing workshops.
I received a digital copy of this via my participation in a promotional blog tour but that in no way influences my rating and/or opinion about it. Thank you, XpressoTours and Michael F. Stewart!
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