Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Touching senior-year novel encourages self-reflection.

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Kirby is particularly adept at creating central characters who have a lot of emotional issues to overcome, whether it's grief, or damaged parental relationships, or the longing of unrequited love. Through Parker and Julianna, Kirby continues to hone her ability to portray girls on the cusp of womanhood, girls who keep a part of themselves closed off and shut tight and in need of someone to see them, really see them for who they are -- not simply a straight-A student but a poet in the making, not just one half of the town's golden couple but a budding artist. Parker's relationship with Julianna (via the senior journal) is in a way even more intimate, more kindred than her best friendship with Kat, a faithful BFF but one who doesn't understand the personal crisis Parker is experiencing.

Readers who primarily want to read about romance should know that while Parker has a sweet chemistry and ongoing tension with Trevor, charming senior flirt extraordinaire, their relationship is a slow, slow build that takes a refreshing back seat to Parker's story of self-reflection. Parents may cringe at Parker's controlling mother, who wants to micromanage every aspect of her superstar daughter's life, but it's a good reminder that teens need parental guides, not dictators. One of the best parts of the book is how every chapter begins with a quote from Parker's favorite poet, Robert Frost, whose words will make you contemplate the joys of the proverbial "road less traveled."

Book Details

  • Author: Jessi Kirby
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Topics: Friendship, High School
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: May 14, 2013
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
  • Number of pages: 288
  • Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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