Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Hillon, 294 pages, Can be read in a couple of evenings depending on your speed, Young Adult
“We’re all great at pretending. Until we’re not.”~Sunny, p. 159
(Thanks to 22Debuts for gifting me this book!)
I don’t know what I expected when I picked up this book, but it sure wasn’t that ride! We begin our journey with Sunny at his senior prom and dealing with all the ridiculousness that comes with it. Because of how the book starts, you think it’s going to be a standard silly romp of high school kids being, well, ridiculous high school kids.
And for a few chapters, that’s exactly what it is. Until, that is, Sunny admits that he is avoiding the death anniversary ceremony his parents are holding for his deceased older brother…and ultimately avoiding his own grief. Once that is revealed, we are thrown into a series of events that can best be descried as “avoidance shenanigans.”
And boy do we get shenanigans! But really wholesome and sweet shenanigans. From donut shops for an open mic night to gallivanting around on a motorcycle to eating ALL THE FOOD, Sunny does everything he can to hide from himself. And it is amazing just how many rash decisions he managed to squeeze into one night. Or rather, how many Mindii Vang helped him make as she was right by his side for all of it, encouraging him, supporting him, and sometimes pushing him.
This book is a slow burn. By that I mean that the point of these adventures isn’t clear until the third act. About halfway through, I wasn’t sure I was enjoying it anymore. The adventures slowed. The conversations turned serious in a very non-shenanigany way. And while I loved the banter, it felt a little safe. It felt like any other get-to-know-you scene(s). Except—that is entirely the point. It was the calm before the storm. A calm we needed to feel—a calm Sunny needed to feel—before so much of what Sunny (and thus, we the readers) knows is upended.
The third act is heart-racing, and beautiful, and powerful. It’s an ending I didn’t see coming and yet, by the time we get there, it all makes sense.
As a final thought, I really appreciated the swearing. Teenagers swear. And it was refreshing to see that acknowledged. I also loved the deep dive into both Sikh and Hmong cultures as we rarely see either, let alone both, in books like these.