Author: Carolyn Mackler
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Source/format: ARC from BEA 2015
Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.
Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….
Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.
Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.
Five different yet unique teens are randomly selected to be in Group Eighteen for the freshmen orientation project at Hankinson High School in New York. Little did they know is how their lives will intertwine with one another's over the next four years.
Carolyn Mackler easily captures the voices of the five teens over the span of their high school career. Mackler was able to master the multiple POVs effortlessly. Sometimes multiple POVs can be messy and confusing but Mackler was able to streamline all five voices and make them all distinct. Each chapter is a different POV and each chapter is short which makes reading the POVs more enjoyable. Not many authors can pull off five POVs. I find having the months and the high school year at the bottom of the pages is a brilliant idea to figure out how far the crew is away from graduation.
Mackler highlights the most important parts of their four years at Hankinson whether it be good, bad and in between. Mackler doesn't sugarcoat the life of a teenager. Readers can see how the teens mature and change. She covers a wide range of topics most teens go through such as friendships, family dynamics, loss, applying to college, firsts and love. Mackler breaks down stereotypes and there is more to the geek, the princess, the basket case and the jock a la The Breakfast Club. If you're a big fan of coming-of-age, multi-perspective contemporary novels, definitely check out the Infinite in Between.