Learning to Swear in America - Katie Kennedy

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.


I love a good quirky novel, and this is certainly on the quirky scale. Learning to Swear in America will make you laugh, cry, hope, and cheer for Yuri Strelnikov. 

There is a lot of depth to each of the characters, and the stakes are raised by the fact that the world is possibly going to end in a few short weeks. Though a genius when it comes to physics, because he is out of his element in a new country, and because he's a bumbling seventeen-year-old, Yuri does his best to convince his colleagues of his theories on antimatter. Unfortunately they don't want to listen, which means that Yuri has to get creative. Of course, meeting Dovie helps Yuri to realize that life is better with someone to share it with, and with a possible home to return to.

There are great back stories throughout the narrative, and the romantic elements are there but not entirely over-the-top, which I liked a lot. And although some people will likely have some issues with the slightly broken English that Yuri speaks, I thought it was pretty much how a young man who has barely been out of his own country and who has only read in English might speak when in the USA. I will let others tell me if I'm off base on this, but I think it works, personally.

Basically, the book is a lot of fun, and I hope others will agree!

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