An immersive senior year experience, beginnings and endings included.
After an amazing summer with her screenwriting partner, Maeve, in New York City, Paige Hancock’s life back home in Oakhurst, Indiana, is looking up—reminders of the drowning death two years earlier of her boyfriend, Aaron, and her reoccurring anxiety issues notwithstanding. But the start of her senior year heralds changes for relationships that give her life stability: with her tightknit friendship group; new boyfriend, Max; outgoing younger sister, Cameron; and divorced parents, whose relationship seems on the mend. She also works through wavering feelings about her college options—the safe in-state public university or private schools in New York and California? Enter Paige and friends’ bucket list for a final year of bonding! The theme of separation runs throughout the book, from her friends’ changing to Paige’s own evolving views on life. Screenplay references that frame the narration of Paige’s life and descriptions of how she deals with her anxiety make the story shine. The well-developed ensemble cast includes diverse family structures and shifting friendship dynamics that mirror Paige’s own evolution in this satisfying story that ties up all the loose ends. Paige and most main characters are white; one of Paige’s close friends is biracial (black and Polish), one is lesbian, and there is diversity in secondary characters.
Engrossing and engaging. (Fiction. 14-18)