After Summer

Nick Earls, Author Houghton/Graphia $6.99 (226p) ISBN 978-0-618-45781-6

Those who have had the pleasure of meeting Dan, the philosophical, klutzy hero of Earls's 48 Shades of Brown , will find an equally endearing and amusing protagonist in Alex, a high-school graduate in limbo. Spending the Australian summer (which falls during America's winter months) at the beach with his mother, Alex is ticking off the days until he receives his "offer" from a university ("I'm observing but not participating, squandering these counting-down days, willing January to come to an end, willing it not to"). But then something unexpected happens. Alex, who fears he is destined to become "Nerd King" and has never had a girlfriend, falls in love with a beautiful local surfer who, miraculously, seems to love him back. Once again preferring humor over sentiment, Earls encapsulates the passion, angst, awkwardness and excitement of first romance and at the same time evokes the joy of living for the moment instead of brooding about the future. As different as night and day, uptight Alex, spawned by now-divorced yuppies, and free-spirited Fortuna, the daughter of hippie peddlers (who makes a game of revealing her name), form a comical, unlike -ly duo, who somehow seem to bring out the best in each other. Through a cast of sharply defined characters, the author wittily conveys universal truths about life and love, reminding readers that Cupid's arrow, often flung at the most unlikely times and places, can strike anyone. Ages 13-up. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 219 pages - 978-1-84428-630-0
Prebound-Glued - 226 pages - 978-1-4176-8157-0
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