By: Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin
Liana is an aspiring planetary scientist…and also a kissing expert. She's got a lot of experience. Maybe too much. So this summer she decides to conduct an experiment: She's going to give up the kissing part. It shouldn’t be too hard for her—after all, none of her kissing partners so far have been worth the lip time. That is, until Hank comes along.
Hank has never been kissed. He’s smart and funny—sometimes without intending to be—and a little socially challenged. Hank’s got Asperger’s syndrome. This means he knows nearly every track that Kirsty Maccoll has ever appeared on, but not when to shut up about it. Despite his loquatiousness, he also doesn’t know when to say the things he should. Things like,I don’t have a father. I want to hold your hand, I want to kiss you.
It would appear that Hank and Liana are in for an interesting summer—if the planets align.
summary from book
My Rating: 4.5/5
I was originally drawn to The Half-Life of Planets because of Hank. I had never read a novel that centered on a character with autism (asperger's syndrome) and I was interested in seeing how that original contribution to this novel would play out. Hank turned out to be one of my favourite, if not my absolute favourite aspect of this novel. He was just the sweetest person imaginable and I adored every facet of his character and how he was represented. From his infinite knowledge on anything affiliated with music, to his outward honesty and nervous contemplation on all topics involving Liana, he was in one word: wonderful.
In general, The Half-Life of Planets really surprised me and in a good way. I wasn't so sure what to expect from this novel. Due to the very brief summary with the indication of kissing mixed with the overtly cutesy cover I had come to the prior conclusion that this novel would be a fun and cute read. The Half-Life of Planets is a fun and cute but it's also much more than that. There are many underlying themes not mentioned at all in the summary that are touched upon and developed in this novel such as family and loss etc. I would describe this book as being very endearing and in possession of much heart. It's definitely a book that I feel many people will enjoy and appreciate because it incorporates so many well loved aspects that readers are often drawn to. There's romance, self-discovery and growth of characters, humor, family turbulence and so on.
I already mentioned how much I loved Hank above and now it's time to give Liana some much deserved credit as well. She was a great character with a strong voice who was dealing with a multitude of her own issues which was important. I have found in the past that with the utilization of having two or more protagonists narrating the story there can at times be the case in which one character is much more developed and interesting than the other. What I liked about Hank and Liana in The Half-Life of Planets is that they both shared their own separate individual struggles and share of problems. Yes, their stories were interwoven as their shared romance is a large part of the plot but aside from that, their entire being and story did not revolve solely around each other which made things much more interesting not to mention realistic.
Aside from Liana and Hank I was also very fond of Chase, Hank's older brother who I found to be really interesting and underneath his college boy exterior, quite a good brother. I also really enjoyed Hank's mom as well as a multitude of smaller characters particularly those that Hank encounters by working at a guitar shop part time.
Overall: The Half-Life of Planets is a wonderful book with very many redeeming qualities that I think a multitude of people would enjoy. As I mentioned above it's got a lot of heart and touches upon many topics that are easy to relate to and or sympathize with. Mix all of that with a fantastic cast of characters and you've got a great read!