As I said in an earlier post, knowing a writer or illustrator doesn't always make me love (or even like) their latest work, but it does usually get them a higher place in my "to read" pile. Such is the case of Kathryn Erskine's upcoming book, The Absolute Value of Mike [Philomel] (June release). When the book arrived, I placed it on top of the pile.
I'm certainly glad I did. This one takes a 180 degree turn from her National Book Award winner Mockingbird. While there are some serious undertones to the book (many of the characters are coping with the death of a loved one), there's a great deal of humor in the book. Additionally, the main character, Mike, seems to have fallen into a modern day Oz, encountering one eccentric character after another, and he's left to pull them together to fulfill their wishes.
There is an open-ended, but satisfying ending to the novel, so I'm guessing there may be a companion novel to follow. (One can only hope -- I don't want to say goodbye to these characters just yet.)
Add this one to your pile when it comes out. You won't regret it.