FAR FROM XANADU by Julie Anne Peters


Age Range: 14 & up
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Excellent characterization makes this piece shine. Mike’s in her third year of high school in the town where she’s always lived. When gorgeous Xanadu arrives (sent from the city for dealing drugs that killed someone), Mike falls head-over-heels in love. Xanadu is straight—but seems to be sending vibes. Peters weaves Mike’s yearning for Xanadu together with Mike’s love/hate feelings about her father, who committed suicide two years earlier. Mike follows in his footsteps by doing plumbing jobs with his old equipment. She excels at it, but she also excels at softball; which should she pursue? Must she leave this small town, or is everything she needs right here? Mike’s a gritty and absorbing mix of pain and strength; Peters’s other characters are also realistically complex (with the exception of Ma, whose fatness is used as a cheap symbol of dysfunction). Peters avoids casual assumptions—that college is necessarily better than plumbing, for example, or that gender is simple—to paint a memorable portrait of this girl and the small town she calls home. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-316-15881-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2005


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