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Summary: Jeremy Applewhite returned home from New York City 17 years and one day too late to see his grandmother alive. His brother Chance, who stayed behind, is not particularly happy to see him. A series of events, thanks to fate and Chance's wife and daughter, give the brothers the opportunity to resume a once close relationship. This is a young adult novel about pursuing dreams and remaining true to one's self.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 11 to 13; read yourself: 12 and up
Young Reader Reaction: This book is exceptionally touching, with events that reveal the nature of the human heart. The author creates real, strong characters which contribute to the passion with which the story is written. I think that this story inspires us to be true to our souls, live our lives with zeal, and appreciate the precious times that we share with our families and friends.
Adult Reader Reaction: I really enjoyed this book. The story moves along nicely, and the characters have layers and feelings that everyone (not just the target audience) can relate to. The book introduces mature themes, but does not offer much emphasis on the consequences of some decisions. Because the characters are earnest, positive figures, there may be a subliminal even-if-I-do-this-everything-turns-out-Okay message.
Pros: The story is well-grounded and very well written. Although predictable at times, you still want to keep reading to see if dreams do come true.
Cons: Some of the content seems to be a little mature even for 12-year-olds. Today's youth know about non-marital and teen sex in more graphic forms than just a decade ago, still, this may not be appropriate for all teen audiences.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a story that can easily be read a couple of times ... like a favorite pair of slippers.
Educational Themes: The story draws on all of the things important to teens (and their parents): achieving one's dreams, wanting to leave home; sibling rivarly; family separation and 'feuds'; loss of an important person; balancing one's desires for the greater (read: family) good; first love; making good choices in friends.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.