Learning to Swear in America

Learning to Swear in America

by Katie Kennedy


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A Summer/Fall 2016 Indies Introduce selection

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Maybe not kill-all-the-dinosaurs bad, but at least kill-everyone-in-California-and-wipe-out-Japan-with-a-tsunami bad. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been recruited to aid NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster.

The good news is Yuri knows how to stop the asteroid--his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize if there's ever another Nobel prize awarded. But the trouble is, even though NASA asked for his help, no one there will listen to him. He's seventeen, and they've been studying physics longer than he's been alive.

Then he meets (pretty, wild, unpredictable) Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he's not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and live a life worth saving.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with the questions of the universe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619639119
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 07/18/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 127,628
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Katie Kennedy is a history professor living in Iowa. She studied Russian History in college and has a son in high school and a daughter in college. This is her first novel.

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Learning to Swear in America 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the twisty, unexpected plot elements, the bright characters, and the grittiness and emotional rollercoaster of trying to save the world from disaster. My only criticism was the description of some of the high school scenes. High school can be awful, but this one was unreal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not the best forr younger audiences bu t is is somthing that a bot ogirl coulread and if u like a fault in our strs u will love dis dre
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Katie Kennedy's LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA is young adult science fiction that old folks, like me, can enjoy just as much as the youngsters. Full disclosure, I was a critique partner with Katie, so I saw this tale early on. Of course, all that really means is that I got to fall in love with this novel before most people got to see it. This is the story of Yuri, a Russian physics prodigy who comes to America to help NASA deal with an asteroid that is hurtling toward Earth. Not only does he have to contend with the Government and the jealousies of older scientists, but he also has his own teenage awkwardness to cause him grief. It isn’t easy when he finds himself going from the sheltered existence of a Russian prodigy to the chaos of American youth culture. He finds American allies in Dovie, an odd-ball in her own right, and Lennon, her wheelchair-bound brother. Yuri is lacking in social confidence but doesn’t give up trying. Dovie is a definite social outsider, but without the doom-and-gloom attitude so often associated with such a character. Her brother is a snarky wise-guy, but is admirable in not letting his handicap hold him back. The three together are a team you can’t help but root for, especially near the end where things get really sticky. It is so refreshing to see the action carried by these three rather than stereotypically beautiful and athletic heroes. After such a great debut, I’m looking forward to see what Katie does next. 1st post along with book giveaway on: https://physics-art.com/physics-and-art/test/blog/
elschneider More than 1 year ago
You know how when you read a book and you can just tell by the first few words, you're going to love it? Yeah, that was LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA for me. I cannot tell you how much I loved this book! Loved the writing. Loved every character - Yuri, Dovie, Lennon, even all the small roles played by various scientists and other students! Loved all the great lines! Loved it all. No joke, I think I hearted, starred, smiley faced, !!!!, practically every sentence in this book. So many ha-larious lines had me laughing out loud at 2am in the morning and I know woke my husband up way too many times. But oh was it so worth it. The writing is gorgeous, the story flows so well, and the science behind it all will make you question if Mrs. Kennedy is really a Russian physicist masking herself as a YA writer (yes, the science is that good and by far the best I've seen done on any "Earth is coming to an end" book) -- and by the end, you'll want to nominate her yourself for the Nobel, right along with Yuri. If you don't have this one on your TBR yet, what are you waiting for? Better yet, go now and order it -- I promise you will not be disappointed.
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
I attempted a read of this book a really long while ago, and there was this teaser in the beginning that seemed so awkward, it totally threw me off. And so, I didn’t pick Learning to Swear in America back up for a while, but when I did, I instantly fell in love. Yuri Strelnikov is just your not-so-average seventeen year old Russian physicist, with a PhD and work on antimatter – the one topic no other scientist will even discuss. No problem at all that I’m seventeen too, sitting in college and attempting to survive day by day, but seventeen year old Yuri has been formally requested by the US Government to help destroy the asteroid (not meteorite) BR1019 coming from space, and heading straight to California. No pressure, right? When Yuri, looking for the weapon specs that he was denied for his calculations, gets caught in the NASA director’s office with information on US Weaponry, they know that there is no way that Yuri will be allowed to leave America. On a night that involved a bridge after Yuri hears this information, he runs into Dovie. With her bangs, hippie parents and brother on a wheelchair, she is the exact opposite of Yuri. Algebra and High School are her worst nightmares, and she’s all about living in the present. As the asteroid hurtles closer to Earth, Yuri finds himself more caught up in Dovie’s world, and even goes to high school. Gym, Band, Math, Art and all other things he’s never experienced before. It’s a whole new world, except for the potentially all-life-on-earth-destroying piece of space rock coming in at unimaginable speeds. And only Yuri can save the world. OH. MAN. Can I just say how much I loved seeing high school from a genius’s perspective? Can I say how much I loved seeing America from a Russian’s perspective? Also, can I say HOW MUCH I loved watching a socially awkward boy manage to learn the VAST social customs and all about girls? There was something about this book – the raw, honest writing and the authenticity of all the feelings when the asteroid was about to hit – that just made it click for me. I can’t explain it, except if you’re into contemporary novels that might contain philosophical EoW questions and chemistry, Learning To Swear in America is THE PERFECT ONE for you to pick up!
DownrightDystopian More than 1 year ago
**Thanks so much to the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** Learning to Swear in America follows a Russian physicist named Yuri who may soon be the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Prize. However, the world may end because there's an asteroid hurtling straight towards California, so that Nobel Prize dream may never come true. Yuri is sent to America to help stop the asteroid from hitting Earth, though nobody really takes him seriously. That's when he meets a girl named Dovie, who really allows him to find out what being a teenager in America is all about. He even gets taken to prom! Yuri was such a great character. I really liked that you could tell he wasn't American because of the way that the author made him talk. He was very lovable too, especially because of how intelligent he was. Sometimes he was so intelligent that even I felt a little taken aback! Besides Yuri, Dovie was awesome too. She really helped Yuri break out of his shell and realize that sure, he can be super smart all the time, but he should also take some breaks from all of the hard work and experience real life as a teenager. I mean, you're only this young once! He should go out and adventure, which Dovie definitely has him do. The entire storyline for Learning to Swear in America was very intriguing. I mean, an asteroid hurting towards Earth that could potentially devastate North America?! How much more interesting could it possibly get? I also loved that this book was borderline contemporary, even though it was mainly a science fiction novel. It combined two of my all time favorite genres! The synopsis states that the book is perfect for fans of Andrew Smith and Rainbow Rowell, and I completely agree! I know for sure that this is one novel that I'm going to recommend to others who are looking for a read that's a bit different.
MsArdychan More than 1 year ago
Please Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way. I've been thinking a lot, lately, about what it takes for a book to reach "five stars" with me. Is it the story or the characters, or something else? For me, a book must have a wonderful story and memorable characters but it must also pull me in to the book and get me emotionally involved. Learning To Swear In America, by Katie Kennedy, did just that! I loved it. A boy genius from Russia is called in to work with a team of older scientists to try and find a way to stop a meteor from crashing in to Southern California. I loved how Yuri (the main character) had trouble with his teammates. This 17 year-old has to work with men in their 60's. No one is taking him seriously. I mean, he's just a kid, right? But he has gotten where he is, not just by brains, but by working hard. This means he has never been able to act like a teenager. By chance, Yuri meets up with a teen named Dovie, who he finds an instant connection with. Dovie, along with her brother Lennon, make it their goal to show Yuri how to be a teen. The results are sweet and hilarious. I felt for this young person who didn't quite fit into either world. As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but think of who would be a good choice for a movie version. Sadly, the one person who I think would have been so good in this role passed away last week due to a freak accident. Anton Yelchin would have been so perfect as Yuri. So as I read this book, I naturally pictured Anton in my head. I'm so sad that he passed (and in such a needless way). It appears his car rolled backwards and pinned him to his mailbox. He was a rising star... I loved the characters of Yuri (trying desperately to fit in with his colleagues and other teens), Dovie (just trying to get through high school), and Lennon (trying to get others to see beyond his wheelchair). All three has so much to contribute to the world, but were also in need of each other. Emotional Involvement: As I said earlier, in order for me to award a book 5 stars, I need to get emotionally attached as I read it. This book worked it's charm on me. I was rooting for Yuri to succeed, for Dovie to understand that life gets better after high school, and for Lennon to overcome his depression. I think part of what pulled me in was seeing, first-hand, how difficult it is for a child prodigy to fit in with society. While many celebrate how smart these young people are, they also exclude them. This happened with a relative. While he was praised by his teachers, the kid couldn't get a break. Younger students were intimidated by him and older students resented how easily he went to the top of the class. He was bullied endlessly. Even adults didn't understand him very well. High school was hell. Thankfully that is in the past. With all three characters, the common thread was that each wanted to control their own destiny. I think that problem is shared among many teens. Older adults scoff at their issues, underestimating, (and undervaluing) what they are capable of. We expect 17 year-olds to make major life decisions such as going to college, but don't trust that they have common sense. It's a huge moment in a person's life when they stop listening to their parents, and start owning their decisions. I hope many people will find this book and come to appreciate what any person can do. This book is delightf
KathyMacMillan More than 1 year ago
What a joy this book was! For me, this was one of those reads where I didn’t want it to end, didn’t want to leave the world of the story behind, and I wanted to just hang out with the characters. Yuri is such a winning and relatable character – and that’s saying something, considering that he is a physics prodigy who’s never done any of the normal things most seventeen-year-olds have done, like kiss a girl or go to gym class. The secondary characters are just as three-dimensional, from the older scientists suspicious of Yuri’s abilities to teen artist Dovie and her hippie family, who expand Yuri’s horizons all the way to American swearing and the prom. This is my favorite kind of book: the kind where the story proceeds directly from the characters and the way they spin in and out of each other’s orbits. When the asteroid hurtling toward Earth turns out to be much more dangerous than originally thought, it’s Yuri’s teenage audacity as much as his brilliant mind that gives the world a fighting a chance. Yuri has to make choices at a grand, world-saving scale, and also at a much more intimate one, as he learns just how far he is willing to go to do the right thing.
QuinnenDonnelly More than 1 year ago
Sometimes a book is so delightful and so charming that you just don't want it to end (think Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda). Sometimes a book is about astrophysics, and particularly, how to save the world from a meteor headed straight for it. It's infinitesimally rare for a book to be BOTH of those things, and yet Katie Kennedy's debut does just that. It charms your socks off with its Russian narrator Yuri, who is both incredibly intelligent and awkward like you might expect a seventeen year old PhD toting physicist tasked with trying to figure out how to stop a meteor from crashing into earth to be. There's so much that's working in this book: expert plotting, hilarious scenarios, characters you will fall in love with and wish were real, and high stakes (possibly the highest, since we are talking about the end of the world as we know it). I *love* this book and can't wait to share it with all my astrophysics friend. As someone who's married to an astrophysicist, everything about this book just gets it. Love, love, love, love, LOVE! Also, Yuri is my new book boyfriend.