A Breakfast Club–style, randomly assigned freshman orientation group experiences the highs and lows of four years of high school.
The prologue gives the concept—five teens write letters to their future selves during freshman orientation and agree to assemble again after graduation to read them—and teases the whens and whats of big surprises to come. Gregor’s a small, quiet musician; Zoe, the daughter of a famous actress; Jake, the all-American type; Mia, the weird brainiac; and Whitney, the beautiful, popular girl. Their storylines over the next four years occasionally cross paths and share reoccurring supporting characters. Gregor is hopelessly in love with Whitney, whose primary social entanglements aren’t her series of boyfriends but the best friends she falls in and out of favor with. Mia tries to reinvent herself, while Jake tries to accept himself, and Zoe’s too busy trying to hide from expectations to figure out who she wants to be. Protagonists experience fleeting loves and lose attachments, they develop emotionally and sexually, and each tackles varying degrees of family conflicts and—for some—tragedies. Despite the prologue’s forecasting, many twists still surprise. Problem-novel subjects are elevated by both the humanity of the characters and the intricate ways that they weave in and out of each other’s lives.
Characters live, grow, and ultimately come of age in a beautifully constructed world. (Fiction. 13 & up)