Author: Scott Blagden
Category: Children's
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Harcourt

“The shrinkadinks think I have a screw loose. Ain’t playing with a full deck. Whacked-out wiring. Missing marbles.” Irreverent, foulmouthed seventeen-year-old Cricket is the oldest ward in a Catholic boys’ home in Maine—and his life sucks. With prospects for the future that range from professional fighter to professional drug dealer, he seems doomed to a life of “criminal rapscallinity.” In fact, things look so bleak that Cricket can’t help but wonder if his best option is one final cliff dive into the great unknown. But then Wynona Bidaban steps into his world, and Cricket slowly realizes that maybe, just maybe, life doesn’t totally suck.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Talky Talk: Splendiferous

Cricket’s big on making up words or transfiguring two words, and while at first it can be a bit trying to adapt to the narrative style of the novel, after a short time this book flows like butter. Blagden does a great job of hinting only slightly at Cricket’s past for most of the novel, saving the big (and heart-wrenching) reveal for so late in the book that the reader finds him or herself loving Cricket without it.

Relationship Status: A Surprisingly Awesome Date

This book surprised the heck out of me! To be honest, I thought that it’d be a nice pity date; a dinner and a few drinks with a book that had a sordid story to tell. So consider how shocked I was when I raced through my time with this book and mourned when we had to say good night. Our date was intense and emotional, and you’d better believe that I wish it could have been longer.

Rights Retained: Audience: Ages 14 and up
PageNumber: 320
ISBN: 978-0547904313
CopyrightDate: 2013


“Dear story, you rock."


“Readers who like male protagonists and gritty, contemporary settings will enjoy this carefully crafted novel.”


"Holden Caulfield, meet 2013. With his irreverent, hilarious, and heartbreaking first novel, one thing is clear: Scott Blagden is the real thing."

Deb Caletti
author of HONEY, BABY, SWEETHEART; a National Book Award Finalist

"Dear Life, You Suck will certainly offend a few and delight thousands. Profane, sacrilegious and defiant, this debut novel crackles with energy. It has depth and human significance by which I mean the real stuff of real life."

Ron Koertge
author of STONER & SPAZ; a PEN Literary Award for Children's Literature winner

"Dear Cricket, you rock!"

Tim Wynne-Jones
author of BLINK & CAUTION; a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner

"Cricket Cherpin is profane, funny, hard, vulnerable, kind, angry. In other words, he's as complex and as unique as you or me. His unusual and realistic voice will grab you from the first page and stay with you long after the last one."

Francisco X. Stork
author of MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD; a YALSA Top 10 Best Books for Young Adults

"It's rare to read a novel these days with a voice as arresting and original as that of Cricket Cherpin, the narrator of Scott Blagden's Dear Life, You Suck. Readers of all ages will be transported by Cricket's struggle to make sense of a world where the odds are stacked so squarely against him. From its opening sentence, this is a book that grabs hold of the reader and keeps her spellbound until its moving conclusion."

Lisa Borders
author of CLOUD CUCKOO LAND; winner of the Fred Bonnie Memorial Award for Best First Novel:

This is a truly original work, and fans of Sherman Alexie may find a new favorite in Blagden.

starred SLJ