This Is The Part Where You Laugh

This Is The Part Cover

Novel: This Is The Part Where You Laugh

Publisher/house: Random House/Knopf

Released: May, 2016


“A raw offbeat novel with an abundance of honesty and heart.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In my mind the best storytellers walk that high tight wire between tragedy and comedy with a magician’s grace. The further they take you down the road of comedy, the further you’re willing to follow them down the road of tragedy. Enter Peter Hoffmeister. This Is the Part Where You Laugh is exactly the part where you laugh. And ache. This is a really good book!”—Chris Crutcher

“A memorable story of good kids’ transcending rough lives…. What might seem didactic in lesser hands feels realistic and right here. Messages are delivered in natural dialogue, the well-drawn characters speaking from the heart with wisdom derived from firsthand experience.” —Kirkus, starred review

“A powerful story… Hoffmeister has done a wonderful job of allowing the reader to get into the head of a young man whose world seems to be crashing down around him.” VOYA, starred review

“A unique, unforgettable tale that is a must-have for all YA collections.” —School Library Journal, SLJ Popular Pick

So real it hurts. Hoffmeister explores the depths of family and addiction, friendship and first love with the skill of a writer who knows his way around—and I was happy to follow. This story will stick with you.” —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite

Full review from School Library Journal:

Gr 10 Up—In the opening scene of this powerful and unsettling novel, Travis is in the process of releasing two caimans—fearsome alligatorlike creatures—into the lake behind his grandparents’ home. He claims that he is doing so to provide entertainment for his dying grandmother. Is his motivation this simple, or is his genuine love for his grandmother also a pretext for expressing the rage that seems to lie just beyond the realm of his understanding? No easy answers are provided, and readers are forced to decide for themselves if Travis is perpetrator, victim, or both. He spends much of the narrative searching for the heroin-addicted mother who abandoned him, and he suffered the depredations of foster care and the juvenile justice system before being taken in by his caring but poverty-stricken grandparents. Basketball provides solace and purpose for his life, but even here his violent nature intrudes, as he knocks a trash-talking opponent unconscious in a game. While he forms connections with Creature, a teammate who writes love letters to long-dead Russian princesses, and Natalie, a troubled girl who lives on the affluent side of the lake, Travis is, in the end, unable to overcome either his own impulses or the circumstances of his life. In a compelling but disturbing narrative voice, the protagonist recounts the assaults and other acts of aggression he commits in flat, uninflected, unemotional language, as if he were describing the deeds of someone else.

VERDICT A unique, unforgettable tale that is a must-have for all YA collections.—Richard Luzer, formerly at Fair Haven Union High School, VT

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