Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Book Review + Giveaway: Ray Vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Ray Vs the Meaning of Life
Author: Michael F. Stewart
Publisher: The Publishing House
Pages: 212, ebook
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Source: Xpresso Book Tours/Author
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Genres: Young Adult, Coming-of-age

4 Keys to My Heart: Recommended for readers who enjoy an eclectic coming of age story and meme quotes about the meaning of life.
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?
Add it: Goodreads / Amazon

Ray is a typical teenager just trying to get through high school and find something he enjoys. He spends most of his time playing video games by himself and crushing on a neighbor girl. Then his grandmother dies and everything gets turned upside down. Ray finds himself suddenly responsible for an entire trailer park and all that it entails.

I'm a big fan of coming of age stories and this one does not disappoint. What seventeen year old is ready to discuss the meaning of life? I certainly wasn't. Ray's search for understanding leads him on a hilarious and sometimes disgusting path towards enlightenment. The author does not shy away from the muck that is part of the daily grind of running a camp full of miners and misfits.

I have to say one of my favorite parts of the story was the pool iceberg. The simplest of problems can become overwhelming if we don't manage our expectations of them, including how long it takes for ice to melt once the weather warms up. The symbolism of this and Ray's interactions with Penny really warmed my heart.

There is a lot of depth to this story, family struggles, helping those in need, taking responsibility and of course growing up. Ray's family is an eclectic group of misfits who motivate him, intentionally and not, towards finding his meaning of life. You'll want to join in on this hilarious "spiritual" journey.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a fun coming of age story with a lot of heart.

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. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at www.michaelfstewart.com or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.


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FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

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