A sincere, simple life-instruction booklet for young adults.

Going to College or Apprenticeship

A GUIDE FOR 17 YEAR OLD LEAVING HOME

This debut advice guide provides recommendations for 17-year-olds on handling the “life-defining” college years.

“Further education, inside and outside of college, is a foundation on which to build the rest of your life,” writes Walsh, who urges his target reader to use the earliest years of adulthood  to become “a rounded person with good judgment, many skills and a strong moral fibre.” Walsh’s starter suggestion is to create a two-column chart, highlighting what one is “Good At” and “Poor At,” and then to “get to work” on strengthening oneself in both areas. He emphasizes that everyone has failings, however, and that one should seek help if dealing with anxiety or despair. Walsh then offers an “Upskilling” chapter, advice on finances (be careful with credit cards), living away from home (learn how to cook), and socializing. His third chapter focuses on study habits, urging readers to learn how to touch-type and to limit distractions when they’re hitting the books. In a final “Lifestyle” chapter, Walsh discusses sexuality, noting that “you need to build robust management skills for this powerful drive within you,” such as by thinking “spiritually.” He concludes by quoting a poem by Baptist pastor Clyde Box. Walsh, in his first book, doesn’t provide any details about his own background, although readers may find the tenor of some suggestions to be European (“Listen to BBC radio for definitive English”), as they will his inclusion of Irish university photos. Overall, he’s a folksy and engaging authorial voice, offering the kind of obvious but perhaps necessary advice that one expects from an elder (such as “You can enjoy yourself well without indulging in certain practices which really do kill joy and scar life”). That said, his target readers may not embrace all that he espouses, including his advice to keep relationships “at the ‘friends’ level” as much as possible.

A sincere, simple life-instruction booklet for young adults.

Pub Date: July 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5246-3687-6

Page Count: 50

Publisher: AuthorHouseUK

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2016

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THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

Aspiring filmmaker/first-novelist Chbosky adds an upbeat ending to a tale of teenaged angst—the right combination of realism and uplift to allow it on high school reading lists, though some might object to the sexuality, drinking, and dope-smoking. More sophisticated readers might object to the rip-off of Salinger, though Chbosky pays homage by having his protagonist read Catcher in the Rye. Like Holden, Charlie oozes sincerity, rails against celebrity phoniness, and feels an extraliterary bond with his favorite writers (Harper Lee, Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Ayn Rand, etc.). But Charlie’s no rich kid: the third child in a middle-class family, he attends public school in western Pennsylvania, has an older brother who plays football at Penn State, and an older sister who worries about boys a lot. An epistolary novel addressed to an anonymous “friend,” Charlie’s letters cover his first year in high school, a time haunted by the recent suicide of his best friend. Always quick to shed tears, Charlie also feels guilty about the death of his Aunt Helen, a troubled woman who lived with Charlie’s family at the time of her fatal car wreck. Though he begins as a friendless observer, Charlie is soon pals with seniors Patrick and Sam (for Samantha), stepsiblings who include Charlie in their circle, where he smokes pot for the first time, drops acid, and falls madly in love with the inaccessible Sam. His first relationship ends miserably because Charlie remains compulsively honest, though he proves a loyal friend (to Patrick when he’s gay-bashed) and brother (when his sister needs an abortion). Depressed when all his friends prepare for college, Charlie has a catatonic breakdown, which resolves itself neatly and reveals a long-repressed truth about Aunt Helen. A plain-written narrative suggesting that passivity, and thinking too much, lead to confusion and anxiety. Perhaps the folks at (co-publisher) MTV see the synergy here with Daria or any number of videos by the sensitive singer-songwriters they feature.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02734-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: MTV/Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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A celebratory song of the sea.

THE HIGHEST TIDE

A shrimpy 13-year-old with a super-sized passion for marine life comes of age during a summer of discovery on the tidal flats of Puget Sound.

Miles O’Malley—Squid Boy to his friends—doesn’t mind being short. It’s other things that keep him awake at night, like his parents’ talk of divorce and his increasingly lustful thoughts about the girl next door. Mostly, though, it’s the ocean’s siren call that steals his sleep. During one of his moonlit kayak excursions, Miles comes across the rarest sighting ever documented in the northern Pacific: the last gasp of a Giant Squid. Scientists are stunned. The media descend. As Miles continues to stumble across other oddball findings, including two invasive species that threaten the eco-balance of Puget Sound, a nearby new-age cult’s interest in Miles prompts a headline in USA Today: Kid Messiah? Soon tourists are flocking to the tidal flats, crushing crustaceans underfoot and painting their bodies with black mud. Dodging disingenuous journalists, deluded disciples and the death-throes of his parents’ marriage, Miles tries to recapture some semblance of normality. He reads up on the G-spot and the Kama Sutra to keep pace with his pals’ bull sessions about sex (hilariously contributing “advanced” details that gross the other boys out). But Miles’s aquatic observations cannot be undone, and as summer draws to a close, inhabitants of Puget Sound prepare for a national blitzkrieg of media and scientific attention and the highest tide in 40 years, all of which threatens everything Miles holds dear. On land, the rickety plot could have used some shoring up. Miles is just too resourceful for the reader to believe his happiness—or that of those he loves—is ever at stake. But when Miles is on the water, Lynch’s first novel becomes a stunning light show, both literal, during phosphorescent plankton blooms, and metaphorical, in the poetic fireworks Lynch’s prose sets off as he describes his clearly beloved Puget Sound.

A celebratory song of the sea.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2005

ISBN: 1-58234-605-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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