AN OFF YEAR by Claire Zulkey


Age Range: 14 & up
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Cecily Powell arrives at college with the rest of her freshman class, but instead of unpacking, she asks her father to turn their car around and drive from Ohio back to Chicago. She doesn’t have great plans for an off year; she just knows that now is not the time to start college. Though her dad is fairly easygoing and acquiesces this far, he refuses to let Cecily sit on the couch and do nothing. With help from counselors, Cecily gains the confidence over her gap year to restart her college career. Cecily is a touch sarcastic and refreshingly normal, neither a jaded overachiever nor a struggling student with much to overcome. She fights with her two older siblings but also improves her relationship with them. The ways she grows apart from her high-school friends are sad but realistic. When she leaves the past, she feels more comfortable with the ideas of college and her future. Teens who have doubted the high-school–college-life progression for even a moment will recognize themselves in Cecily, perhaps to their parents’ dismay. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-525-42159-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2009