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Up on Cloud Nine by Anne Fine
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Up on Cloud Nine (2002)

by Anne Fine

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Up on cloud nine is a seemingly pointless novel, it is more of a random collection of different memories shared between two very close friends, Stol and his friend, the main character. The main character in the first part of the novel, which is the only part that shows any evidence of an actual plot (along with random paragraphs and sections of the book), finds himself in the hospital waiting for his exuberant friend Stol's report on how serious his injury was. The book then goes into random collections of our main characters memory as he shares his past with Stol. What we can tell from these memories is that Stol is not quite you average boy, he is very eccentric, and clever, and seems to do things spontaneously. His random way of life has gotten him into a number of awkward and unexplainably unexplainable situations. In the end Stol finds himself in a very bad pickle, but in the end all is resolved and a new chapter in Stol's life begins.

Though the book is very interesting, I would not recommend it for people who like to follow an actual storyline and plot, and not just read a book filled with random thoughts and memories. The book seemed more like a diary, a diary that was compiled by a very easily side tracked person, and somehow it makes sense in the end of the diary, and you are left baffled at the thought of it. Its title up on cloud nine truly reflects on what the book is about. ( )
  JovanH470Volny | Jan 18, 2012 |
Do You Know What it Feels Like for a Girl?
Reading Anne Fine's novel, Cloud Nine, I am reminded of this Madonna song. Cloud Nine deals with what it feels like for a boy. Many articles have been written about gender in adolescence. One idea that has been put forth is that boys now are put in a more limited role than girls ever were before the "feminist revolution". The surface story is about a boy who jumps/falls out of a window and his best friend who sits in the hospital waiting for him to wake up. Told through flashbacks, it is an excellent story of friendship that also deals with being a boy and fitting in or not fitting in. The parents of the jumper appear neglectful through much of the story, though their love for their son is very apparent by the end. The best friend's parents just seem unreal in their goodness and sensible behavior. There's an adoption story in here as well and questions about the unconditionality of friendship and family. As usual with Anne Fine, there are many, many layers to this story. How deep do you want it to be?
Originally posted March 17, 2005
  kconcannon | Sep 26, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440419166, Paperback)

"Up on cloud nine. A weird expression--and one I've heard about a million times, round about Stol. With him, the normal everyday things often stop mattering." Stol, short for Stuart Oliver, is best friends with Ian James, the likeable young narrator of two-time Carnegie Medal-winning British author Anne Fine's funny, poignant, thoroughly engaging novel Up on Cloud Nine. Currently, Stol is "out there" because he's in the hospital, unconscious and hooked up to machines. Outside the hospital he's "out there" because he's wildly accident prone (think paint thinner), a "fantasist" (not a liar, mind you), and a gambler (he bet that their teacher would be dead by Christmas): "he's like one of those jesters in Shakespeare who are allowed to mock the king." Stol also practically lives with Ian's family, essentially abandoned by his busy barrister father, Franklin, and his fashion designer mother, Esme, (who is off in the jungle with models to research "lost-in-the-rain-forest chic").

When Stol ends up broken-boned with a concussion on the ground beneath a top-floor window, Ian doesn't know what to think. The novel follows along with Ian as he combs through all his brotherly memories of his dear, eccentric friend for clues to what might have happened. Through his eyes, we see Stol take shape as the brilliant, mixed-up, "mercurial," "bats" kid he is--someone who vows he will only eat enchiladas and gingersnaps unto death, who makes rafts for gerbils, who has unexplained impulses to fall from great heights. And through his stories we see Ian--a not so wild-eyed but nowhere near dull boy who misses his friend. Best of all are his memories of their Ouija board antics, Stol's wild fabrications, boyhood arguments, and the "Only Child Club" alternating with chapters where Ian is sitting by his friend's side in the hospital figuring out how Stol would score on "The Young Person's Depression Checklist."

"Did Stol jump or didn't he?" isn't the central question in this truly fine, quite psychological, even philosophical novel that paints its characters with clear, powerful strokes. It's about those like practical Ian who are "pinned to the Earth" and those like Stol who are less so, people who take care of people, and other matters of life and death. Highly recommended. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:52 -0400)

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While Stolly struggles to regain consciousness in a hospital bed, Ian recalls some of their best and worst times together as he writes a biography of his eccentric best friend.

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