Two teens take on a challenge to perform meaningful acts of kindness after witnessing an accident on the streets of New York City.
Kendall and Max, white teens from the suburbs with a bit of history together, cross paths again in the city at a crossroads in their lives. Kendall has returned from a semester in Europe and is not sure she’s ready to return to her old high school, especially since her experience at the alternative school abroad was more compatible with her ADHD and learning disability. Max is in the midst of an aimless gap year before college, a decision he made for the sake of an ex-girlfriend. After witnessing a tragic accident and feeling responsible for not intervening, the two agree to a challenge to perform seven acts of kindness in an effort to make amends and assuage their guilt. They spend the week leading up to New Year’s Eve in each other’s company, touching the lives of strangers and growing closer in the process. Castle’s easy prose alternates between their perspectives and is interspersed with brief, poignant insights from the strangers they help along the way. Max’s curmudgeonly Jewish grandfather and Kendall’s gay brother provide some texture to their escapades, while their competing love interests from back home add mild drama to their budding relationship.
Feel-good holiday fare. (Fiction. 14-18)