ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Book Review: “Crying Laughing” by Lance Rubin

Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review. Crying Laughing by Lance Rubin is on sale November 19, 2019.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


ABOUT: Winnie Friedman has been waiting for the world to catch on to what she already knows: she’s hilarious.

It might be a long wait, though. After bombing a stand-up set at her own bat mitzvah, Winnie has kept her jokes to herself. Well, to herself and her dad, a former comedian and her inspiration.

Then, on the second day of tenth grade, the funniest guy in school actually laughs at a comment she makes in the lunch line and asks her to join the improv troupe. Maybe he’s even . . . flirting?

Just when Winnie’s ready to say yes to comedy again, her father reveals that he’s been diagnosed with ALS. That is . . . not funny. Her dad’s still making jokes, though, which feels like a good thing. And Winnie’s prepared to be his straight man if that’s what he wants. But is it what he needs?

Caught up in a spiral of epically bad dates, bad news, and bad performances, Winnie’s struggling to see the humor in it all. But finding a way to laugh is exactly what will see her through.


My Review:
I wanted to read this book because the main character, Winnie, loves comedy and so do I. I was drawn in by comedy being the focus of the novel, which I’ve never seen before in YA. Comedy is extremely subjective and incredibly difficult to be successful in. Lance Rubin does a good job meshing comedy, some of the realities of comedy, and the life of a 15-year-old all together.

I wasn’t cracking up or anything while reading (wasn’t my brand of comedy) but it was still an interesting story. Actually, the true essence of Crying Laughing went far deeper than I thought it would be. The allusions to life as a comedian were strongly on the forefront.

I like Winnie and could relate to her not wanting to do something she’s passionate about after one bad experience. I think anyone can relate to that notion in one way or another. She’s not that funny (again, not my brand of comedy). But I enjoyed her journey throughout the story as she rediscovers what makes her special. That was well crafted by the author. My favorite thing about Winnie is how strong her voice comes across. Her tone gave me a clear image of the kind of person she is.

I liked viewing Winnie’s home life and how it so seamlessly (post-read) it juxtaposed with school life. There were connections and signs I missed in the beginning or didn’t quite grasp until the end.

Winnie and her family are so close but they all still have flaws which is always great to see. The cast of characters is very diverse and I think readers the same age can connect with at least one character in some way.

I don’t know much about ALS but what I do know I saw depicted in strong details. The author paints a devastating, crippling, depressing picture. All these bad things happen and create a huge challenge Winnie has to overcome.

There are a lot of real-world allusions – for me, too much “product placement” for lack of better words. But I do profoundly agree that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are amazing and comedy gold.

I read this book within 3 days because I couldn’t stop reading – nor did I want to. I would read more books by Lance Rubin. He is a very good storyteller.

3 replies on “ARC Book Review: “Crying Laughing” by Lance Rubin”

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