“Full of wit and wisdom, and riotously funny to boot. A phenomenal debut!” —Ransom Riggs, New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
“As irreverent as it is gratifying.” —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland
A grieving teen faces dangerous classmates, reckless friends, and the one-year anniversary of his sister’s devastating death in this poignant, quirky, often humorous novel that’s perfect for fans of Jeff Zentner and Brendan Kiely.
Kirby Burns is about to have the second worst day of his life.
Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the worst day of his life, and in the three hundred and sixty-four days since then he hasn’t stopped running: from his family, his memories, and the horse-sized farm dogs that chase him to the bus stop every morning.
But he can’t run forever, and as This Might Hurt a Bit begins, Kirby and his friends PJ and Jake sneak out of his house to play a prank whose consequences follow them to school the next day, causing a chain reaction of mayhem and disaster. It’s a story that’s touching and funny, an authentic meditation on the pain of loss, and the challenge of getting paint to stick to cows.
The worst day of 16-year-old Kirby's life was when his sister, Melanie, died. A year later, he's worried about getting beaten up at school for pulling a prank that ended badly the night before and he's not looking forward to facing his parents about the secret journal his mother found in his room, either. In his observant and expressive first-person voice, Kirby describes his experiences with bullies, his grief after losing Melanie, and his family's recent move from suburbia to the rural town of Upper Shuckburgh, a quiet place that sometimes "feels like the moon." Horner's YA debut lacks fully developed characters and emotional depth (laughs come at the expense of local people, who are typecast as crass rednecks). But humor diffuses the tension built from Kirby's various attempts to escape his fate, and witty observations, such as Kirby's appraisal of his mother and father ("Trying to figure out my parents is like trying to put a tuxedo on a squirrel: difficult, dangerous, and not worth the photo") feel fresh. Ages 14 up.