Author: Neal Shusterman
Fourteen-year-old Anthony Bonano (better known as Antsy) is having a relatively uneventful Thanksgiving day, watching football and parades with his friends–basically just killing time until he has to be at his parents’ restaurant to work that evening–when a parade float gets loose, taking some of its handlers along for a dangerous ride. Of course, Antsy and his friends get the bright idea to go see the action first-hand . . . which is all well and good until someone actually dies falling from the wreckage. Wow. Vastly deflated, the boys return home, only to have their friend Gunnar confide on the train-ride home that he has contracted a rare but deadly disease and only has six months to live. As news of Gunnar’s condition spreads through their school, Antsy comes up with the bright idea to sign a month of his life over to Gunnar–to show solidarity and cheer him up, mostly. However, Antsy’s altruism has some unexpected consequences . . . such as the idea going viral, with everyone at school giving contracts for months of their lives. Also, such as Gunnar’s older (gorgeous) sister Kjersten suddenly thinking Antsy’s a really great guy . . . maybe even great enough to date.
Antsy Does Time was one of those random books I picked up just because the cover looked interesting–it was nothing like what I expected from the cover, but was well worth the reading. I think if you mixed Daniel Pinkwater, Bill Myers, and maybe just a bit of Jasper Fforde or Garrison Keillor together, you might get a story something like this one. It is ridiculously zany–so much so that I made myself cry from laughing several times while reading (which is weird, since a lot of the story focuses on death, but there you go). In spite of being so hilarious, this book also deals with difficult issues like death and family tensions in a clear, gracious, insightful manner–surprisingly so. As an extra fun bit, there are random literary and grammatical allusions scattered throughout, just enough to make it amusing. All in all, I think Antsy Does Time is a great story for middle-school readers and up; I’d definitely recommend this story.