Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.
Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….
Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thoughthe wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.
Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.
For the most part, this book was way too drawn out and mundane. I felt no drive to finish reading it. For the longest time, these kids were too weird, too awkward, too angsty, and far too self-absorbed. But as the years went on, they all became more likeable people. Their identities changed. They grew into themselves. They all transformed into the people they should have been from the start. We are all one of these characters at some point in our lives. I also really liked seeing all the ways their lives intermingled over the years. From parental crushes to crazy car stories to teddy bears and chance encounters, there was a lot of cool dramatic irony. We got to see things that went without notice, which makes me wonder what we miss in real life just by not asking the right things or paying attention.
Mia: I am PROUD of this girl. At first, I had no idea what her motives were. I didn’t understand why she was so obsessive and strange. Makeover? Necessary. Sophie friendship? Necessary. Jeremiah? Necessary. Brock? Essential. Low key, I want her and Brock to truly hit it off.
Jake: Kid’s had it rough, and it’s all thanks to TED. I like how Jake spent a lot of time finding himself. I’m glad he was an incredible artist, which didn’t mean that he suddenly sucked at football (it just wasn’t him anymore). I like how Whitney “saved” him. I liked how he saved Mia (temporarily) and Zoe (long-term). I like how he was that universally well-liked guy who didn’t subscribe to the whole popularity game.
Whitney: Speaking of the popularity game, hi. I really hated a lot of her “friends,” and thankfully they got what they deserved. This was like Mean Girls brought to life. I’m glad she realized how to be happy.
Gregor: Poor kid couldn’t catch a break. It was amazing to see him blossom over the years.
Zoe: She was angsty and spoiled and self-entitled. Then, before you knew it, she was something else. I felt like the car scene was pivotal in the sense that it showed how much she had grown, without coming as a surprise/major change in character… and without noticeable changes as the months went by. It’s like everything seems to be going at the same pace, until you look back, and before you know it… you’re someone completely different. I understand now why people seem to change so much when you haven’t seen them in a long time, yet seem exactly the same when you see them every day. There’s something cool about changing with people together.
It was slow at first but nice at the end. The pacing made sense though.
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