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FUNNY HOW THINGS CHANGE by Melissa Wyatt Kirkus Star


by Melissa Wyatt

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: April 27th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-374-30233-7
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Remy Walker is torn. High school is over and Lisa, the girl he loves, is leaving West Virginia for college. She wants him to come, too, but everything else calls him to stay in Dwyer, where Walker roots go back to 1840. Many locals—Remy’s mother was one—can’t wait to escape this hardscrabble life with diminishing job prospects, where mountaintops are systematically destroyed to reach dwindling reserves of coal left from centuries of mining. Others, like Remy’s dad, stay on, stubbornly eking out a living. Remy gives in to Lisa’s plans, but the arrival of an attractive young outsider, alive to the harsh enchantment of Remy’s world, makes him question his choice. Laconic but full of heart, smart, thoughtful and proudly working-class, Remy makes a fresh and immensely appealing hero. Wyatt’s prose is tautly evocative throughout; her plot is a welcome departure from the stale conventions of the hero’s journey. What Remy seeks, his terra incognita, lies not in some distant place, but beneath his feet and all around him, the achingly beautiful, vulnerable landscape of home. (Fiction. 12 & up)