Blog Tour: Review of The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff

Summary/Cover Image from Author's Website:

The absolute value of any number, positive or negative, is its distance from zero: -1 = 1

Noah, Lily, and Simon have been a trio forever. But as they enter high school, their relationships shift and their world starts to fall apart.

Privately, each is dealing with a family crisis—divorce, abuse, and a parent’s illness. Yet as they try to escape the pain and reach out for the connections they once counted on, they slip—like soap in a shower. Noah’s got it bad for Lily, but he knows too well Lily sees only Simon. Simon is indifferent, suddenly inscrutable to his friends. All stand alone in their heartache and grief.

In his luminous YA novel, Steve Brezenoff explores the changing value of relationships as the characters realize that the distances between them are far greater than they knew.


The Absolute Value of -1 is a dark and dreary book of hope, despair, love, loss, and wanting something so much it hurts. It's also funny at times and written in prose that leaves you breathless for more, as well as questioning what on earth is going to happen next. In other words, it's a pretty great book!

The Absolute Value of -1 tells the story of three teens who've been friends since middle school, but now with high school in the process it seems like their friendship is slipping right out of their hands. Lilly is part of the group; she's the math genesis and the girl who has truly been lost since her parents got divorced all those years ago. But it is okay because she has the swoon-worthy Simon and he'd never hurt her, right? Simon is the one dealing with problems at home that he can't even began to speak of, because that would only mean they are 100% true and he just can't have that. Noah is the one that completes the trio. Noah's father has never been dad of the year quality which has led Noah to go down several bad roads, but this time he's going to make everything right. He's going to Lilly to fall in love with him, for one, and he's going to make everything at home right...

All three of these characters are completely lost and alone, though with each other they find a part of themselves that shows them they can be somewhat normal even for a little while, and I liked that aspect of that plot. I also found the characters to be likable and while I could never 100% relate to one, I still was able to in small ways, and I think many others will be able to as well, because in some ways these characters are the universal teens. Further more, they were also established in a way that truly made them jump of the page and come to life in front of my eyes.

The one thing I would have liked to seen, though, was a better resolution to their situations, because by the end, Steve truly left you hanging on several different parts of the plot.

And talking about the plot, it was pretty decent, but I would have liked some more action, possibly, to speed things up every once in a while when it tended to drag on and on. Steve's writing was great though and brought a flare to the novel that gave it an edge I liked.

In all, The Absolute Value of -1 is a decent story of the trials and tribulations of being in the in-between stage between a teen and adult; a must read for anyone looking for a novel of loss, love, and despair!

Grade: B

The Absolute Value of -1 is now out!

Source: Author. Thanks, Steve!

1 comment:

  1. Great review...it's so interesting that a book that's so dark and dreary can be one of hope :)


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