I've always enjoyed the adult books that Brendan Halpin writes, so I was excited to see a new novel for Young Adults from him. How Ya Like Me Now pulls the reader in pretty quickly, as we meet Eddie just as his life is changing yet again. First his father died, then his mom retreated into whatever pills she could find to numb her pain, leaving Eddie to manage his own life. He did pretty well for a fifteen-year-old, but it came to an end when his mother was arrested for forging a prescription. The book opens with Eddie getting ready to leave his suburban home to move in with his aunt and her family in downtown Boston. Suddenly he's trying to get along in a place where everything is different - a loft in the city, surrogate parents, a cousin his same age, and a small charter school in the middle of the city - his new life is completely different from anything he's ever experienced.
It didn't take me long to begin caring about Eddie, and cheering for him as he finds his way. After finishing the book, I took it home and gave it to my 16 year old son. He was slow to start it (what teen wants to read his mom's suggested book?), but once he began the book, he read it in one sitting. He liked how "real" the characters felt to him, and the interaction between Eddie and the other students. We both recommend this book.