When I Was Older

Garret Freymann-Weyr, Author, Garret Weyr, Author
Garret Freymann-Weyr, Author, Garret Weyr, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $15 (176p) ISBN 978-0-618-05545-6
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Fifteen-year-old Sophie leads a well-regulated life of studying, swim practices and daily ""on purpose"" memories of her younger brother, who died of leukemia when she was 12. Set in contemporary Manhattan, this first novel uses humor and angst to take on the big and little issues of teen life, from loss to school politics. Contrary to her strong views against dating, which she thinks makes girls ""stupid beyond belief,"" Sophie finds herself attracted to Francis, the son of her mother's new boyfriend. Francis's straight-shooting approach to everything--including the death of his mother--challenges Sophie's assumptions and illuminates her path to healing. Given the unconventional experiences Freymann-Weyr has assigned him, Francis is perhaps a little too well-adjusted for credibility. The story, which is framed by an essay that Sophie writes for school, offers little tension and no surprises. All the same, Sophie's personal revelations and changes of heart unfold believably. Full of vinegar and sass, Sophie is likable and energetic enough to carry this tale. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)
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