Posts Tagged 'coming of age'

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages: 449

Iowa Award Winner 2018-19

Emily and Sloane have been best friends ever since Sloane moved to town. They do everything together and Emily feels braver and more adventurous when she’s with Sloane, which is why it’s so hard when Sloane disappears one day. She stops answering her phone and her house suddenly seems abandoned.  Meanwhile, Emily’s parents have become suddenly absorbed in a new play they are writing and she feels she has no one to talk to.  Then one day Emily receives a list in the mail from Sloane of crazy things to do this summer and she thinks that if she does them she’ll somehow find Sloane.  Along her journey through the list she gets a job where she meets a new friend, and gets to know a boy from school she previously thought was too good for her.  She also does many crazy things she never thought she’d have the courage to do.  As she moves and changes, though, she still misses her best friend and hopes to find out where she’s gone.

This coming of age story about friendship is relatable to any high school student who has needed help finding their true personality as they grow up.  It’s easy to get caught up with what friends like or don’t like, but eventually we all have to find our true self and be brave enough to share it with others.  Emily’s story shows how intimidating that can be while also revealing how amazing the results can be when you put yourself out there. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han will love this story and will not be disappointed by the ending.  The list is fun, but it’s the characters who really shine.

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Peak by Roland Smith

Genre: Sports Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 246 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Peak was named Peak due to his parents’ love of mountain climbing. They have long since separated and he almost never sees his father, who leads expeditions up Mt. Everest. Peak loves to climb, however, and gets the idea to climb skyscrapers in New York since there are no mountains. After several successful attempts he is caught and there is a media frenzy. He faces several charges and is looking at three years in jail when his father unexpectedly arrives and offers to take him away and pay a huge fine. The judge likes the idea of Peak being out of sight and agrees. Peak’s father has other intentions for him, however, and Peak soon learns that if he goes along with his father’s plan he will not only help his mountain climbing business, but have one of the most difficult and exhilarating times of his life.

This story has everything sports fiction fans love. It has drama, suspense, action, interesting details, and well-developed characters. Mountain climbing is not a subject often tackled by young adult writers, which makes this story that much more interesting. The details are specific and help anyone regardless of experience in this sport learn what it takes to climb high and difficult mountains. Peak’s motivations and desires also help the reader to understand why he feels he needs to climb all the time. Recommended for sports fiction readers, but all will enjoy.


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