Normally at the top of the class, list-making Mara freaks out during a calculus test and travels to spend time with her dad, a former professional skier.
The driven scholarship student has organized her life with the goal of becoming valedictorian of her posh, superdemanding private school. Then a video of her shrieking as she tears up all the tests she can reach goes viral. The school allows her to take a few months off but doesn’t ease up on the homework. She sees the opportunity for a break in her estranged, biological father, Trick, who lives in a tiny cabin as a caretaker and works at a ski shop in Squaw Valley, near Lake Tahoe. There, she’s attracted to both supermodel-handsome, rich Beck and ski bum Logan, who seems distant but volunteers to teach her to ski. As possible romance looms in the air, Mara struggles to come to terms with Trick, who has made no effort to be her father. She uncovers her parents’ history and tries to recover from her breakdown but avoids therapy. Skiing is preferable to homework—maybe she could just live here? Culbertson throws enough romance and party fun into her story to keep readers engaged, but the main thrust of the story is how Mara comes to terms with who she is, what her relationship will be with her father, and discovering her real goals in life.
Psychology with snow. (Fiction. 12-18)