An Off Year

Claire Zulkey. Dutton, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-42159-7
Teens who get butterflies in their stomachs just thinking about starting college will relate to Cecily, who, upon her arrival at her Kenyon College dorm, decides campus life is not for her (" ‘You know, actually, I think I'm just going to go back home with you,' I told my dad, who was still trying to decipher the campus map"). What follows is her "off" year, a time she would rather spend watching TV than trading barbs with her boomerang-daughter older sister, and getting tossed into therapy by her professor father. In a candid first novel filled with funny-smart, true-to-life observations and dialogue between Cecily and her family members, Zulkey traces Cecily's coming to terms with her fears as she watches old friends move forward and regrets being left behind. Rather than giving pat solutions or clear causes for the protagonist's reluctance to begin a new life, the book remains focused on her maturing process. If her anxieties aren't completely quelled by the story's end, readers will sense that Cecily's second attempt to leave the nest will go more smoothly. Ages 14—up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 11/09/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-101-13933-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 304 pages - 978-1-101-14024-6
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