Grendel's Guide to Love and War (Hardcover)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets Revenge of the Nerds in this tale of a teen misfit who seeks to take down the bro next door, but ends up falling for his enemy’s sister and uncovering difficult truths about his family in the process.
Tom Grendel lives a quiet life—writing in his notebooks, mowing lawns for his elderly neighbors, and pining for Willow, a girl next door who rejects the “manic-pixie-dream” label. But when Willow’s brother, Rex (the bro-iest bro ever to don a jockstrap), starts throwing wild parties, the idyllic senior citizens’ community where they live is transformed into a war zone. Tom is rightfully pissed—his dad is an Iraq vet, and the noise from the parties triggers his PTSD—so he comes up with a plan to end the parties for good. But of course, it’s not that simple.
One retaliation leads to another, and things quickly escalate out of control, driving Tom and Willow apart, even as the parties continue unabated. Add to that an angsty existential crisis born of selectively reading his sister’s Philosophy 101 coursework, a botched break-in at an artisanal pig farm, and ten years of unresolved baggage stemming from his mother’s death . . . and the question isn’t so much whether Tom Grendel will win the day and get the girl, but whether he’ll survive intact.
"Deep and uproarious all at once . . . A clever spin on a weighty classic." —Kirkus, starred review
"An outstanding YA novel balancing comedy with substantial themes of love, death, and healing." —SLJ, starred review
About the Author
A. E. Kaplan was born in California and moved to Virginia at the age of seven, where she spent her childhood playing in the woods and reading all the folklore she could get her hands on. She has a BA in history and religious studies from the College of William and Mary and an MLS from Florida State University. Now a writer, she lives in Virginia with her family. Grendel’s Guide to Love and War is her first young adult novel. Follow her on Twitter at @ae_kaplan.
"Deep and uproarious all at once . . . A clever spin on a weighty classic."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"An outstanding YA novel balancing comedy with substantial themes of love, death, and healing."—School Library Journal, starred review
"Kaplan’s 'tale of rivalry, romance, and existential angst' succeeds brilliantly..." —VOYA, starred review
"Grendel's Guide to Love and War is both laugh-out-loud funny and cry-softly-to-yourself heartbreaking. A surprisingly affecting comedic gem about what it means to truly know another human being.” —Lance Rubin, author of Denton Little’s Death Date
"A smart, snappy novel that weaves allusions to Beowulf into a plot full of pranks, home-brewing, lawn-mowing, and a fearsome geriatric army. Deftly satirical and unexpectedly moving, this book is a can't-miss.”—Kate Hattemer, author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy
“Get ready to fall in love with Tom Grendel! He cracked me up, he made me cringe, and he surprised me, but through it all, I was always rooting for him—and you will, too.”—Leila Sales, author of This Song Will Save Your Life
A Bank Street Best Book of the Year