Hello, friends! I’m back with another The Fantastic Flying Book Club blog tour today for the hilarious YA contemporary: War and Speech by Don Zolidis! Every time I get picked to be part of any FFBC blog tour I die a little bit inside out of pure happiness because it’s always such a privilege 🥰 Huge thanks to FFBC for organising these amazing tours and to the authors as well for making the eARCs available to us.
Be sure to click on the banner above to see the other bloggers on tour! 😊
War and Speech
Release date: 05 May 2020
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Not everyone can be a winner…
Sydney Williams knows this better than anyone. After her white-collar- criminal dad is sent to prison, Sydney fails almost all of her classes and moves into a dingy apartment with her mom, who can barely support them with her minimum-wage job at the mall. A new school promises a fresh start. Except Eaganville isn’t exactly like other high schools. It’s ruled with an iron fist by a speech team that embodies the most extreme winner-takes-all philosophy. Sydney is befriended by a group of fellow misfits, each of whom has been personally victimized by the speech team. It turns out Sydney is the perfect plant to take down the speech team from within. With the help of her co-conspirators, Sydney throws herself into making Nationals in speech, where she will be poised to topple the corrupt regime. But what happens when Sydney realizes she actually has a shot at . . . winning? Sydney lost everything because of her dad’s obsession with being on top. Winning at speech might just be her ticket out of a life of loserdom. Can she really walk away from that?
Don Zolidis grew up in Wisconsin, went to college in Minnesota, and is mostly known for being a really funny playwright. For the past five years, he’s been the most-produced playwright in American schools. His more than one hundred published plays have been performed tens of thousands of times, and have appeared in sixty-four different countries. He currently splits his time between New York and Texas, and has two adorable boys who will someday read this book and have a lot of questions. He aspires to owning a dog. His first novel was The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig.
War and Speech was such a treat to read! Amidst all the craziness going on right now, this humorous, mostly-lighthearted, surprisingly emotional YA contemporary was exactly what I needed in my life! The book had me in constant laughing fits but it also had me crying smol silent tears in certain parts too (I’m an emotional creature, alright). I’ve never been part of a debate team so I can’t speak to the accuracy of that part of the story, but I will say that it was very interesting. You hear lots of crazy stories about American school life (books, movies/shows) and the high school portrayed in this book was pretty intense. CW for bullying
Sydney is the new kid in Eaganville, an extremely artsy high school, where it’s not about the jocks or the cheerleaders, it’s the varsity speech team that is the ruling class and they hold power over students and teachers alike. I really loved the characters in this book! I mean, I hated the ones we were meant to hate (and found them horrifyingly entertaining too) but Sydney and her band of merry misfits were such a great group of friends! I loved their support of each other but I do wish that we learned more about them, as this was very focused on Sydney’s character arc, and the plot of revenge and the take down of a toxic system. I thought Sydney’s character arc was done very well and I loved her as the MC. She has a snarky attitude and she’s also a lottle bit angry with the world, but deep down she has a good heart that shines through in little ways. At the start I was worried she would be too too mean and too snarky, but Zolidis balances her character very well, and her growth was very satisfying. I loved watching her confidence grow and see her taking charge of her attitude and channeling that positively.
Honestly, I was 100% impressed by their take down plans because there’s no way in hell I would’ve been able to pull off something so incredible in high school; and I’m pretty sure I’m still too much of a hot mess to pull off anything like this now. I hated Coach Sparks with the passion of a thousand fiery ball-burning suns and I hated reading any parts to do with him and his awful bullying because he’s literally the worst kind of human being to take advantage and to break kids down like that. It definitely brought a darker tone to the story, but the topics covered in the story were important and did bring more depth.
Overall, this was a highly entertaining and fast-paced contemporary that I would definitely recommend if you’re looking for something that’s a little bit nerdy, a lot funny and that’ll leave you feeling good by the time you get to the end. As much as I enjoyed reading this as an adult, I know that I would’ve loved it much more as a high schooler.
Note: These quotes are taken from an advanced copy and are subject to change in the final copy.
If you’re curious about the book and want to know more, you can check out this excerpt!
Have you read War and Speech or is it on your TBR?