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jackifulwood

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Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa
Benjamin Constable
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two
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Joshua Dread: The Nameless Hero
Lee Bacon
An Off Year - Claire Zulkey This book explores a great concept: taking a year off between college and high school to assess what you really want from life. The narrative voice is winning and quirky, if not actually laugh-out-loud funny, so the book is extremely readable. Character development is decent.

Unfortunately, none of the characters are really likable, starting with the heroine. Her journey of self-discovery is completely passive and contains exactly zero epiphanies. She searches her soul, ponders why she decided not to go immediately to college, and consistently arrives at the answer, "I don't know." She takes no initiative in figuring out what she wants. Instead, her initially patient but increasingly stressed father forces her to see two professionals, look at college guides, and visit her brother's campus. He even does all the paperwork for her deferment at the college she planned to attend. By the end of the book, I felt that her eventual life decision was reached through inertia, not self-discovery.

I do think the scenes and musings on the college experience make the book slightly more worthwhile, though. YA literature does little to explore the concept and culture of college. Rather, it treats college as a sort of afterlife to high school: it's a nebulous concept that awaits you after graduation, but as a YA character, you may not exit high school.

Recommend to: Age 14+, the indecisive, someone looking for an easy read