My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: March 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Mental Health, Romance, School Pressure, Friendship, Family Dynamics
I could have used this book a year before applying to college. That year, and the one before actually, I was intensely focused on my studies and cancelled many plans with friends, so many that by the end of the school year, I barely had anyone to say goodbye, good luck to. And I only realized my mistake when I did get into university, went to a few classes and realized that it’s harder to make friends when the teacher lectures and there’s little time to discuss in or between classes. Unless you go to events, socialize.
You have to interact, you have to open up and make time for friendships at least. Romantic relationships are more complicated, so it’s okay to want to avoid those until you’re certain you have time to invest in your significant other. But you can’t defer making friends. You can’t defer taking time for yourself, pursuing hobbies, until graduation. That’s not living. That’s obsessing and a weird way of procrastinating. This is what Ariel Stone has to learn. He’s like me at that age: I was so worried I wouldn’t be accepted into college unless I had an average of 95% that all I did was focus on my studies (and read, of course).
This is a very realistic story and one that I think many seniors in high school (or cegep) will appreciate. It’s just so easy to connect to Ariel and understand what he goes through. Laura Silverman remembers being a teenager well and I can’t believe she discussed application fees. Many times, I read about students applying to five or more colleges and I wonder, ‘‘But don’t they even bat an eye at the fact that these application fees are costly?’’ I only applied to one university personally—my top choice—and waited until I heard back (a week or two later) to even consider applying somewhere else. Luckily I was accepted to my top choice so I didn’t need to spend another hundred dollars to submit another application to a different school, but this is an issue.
I really enjoyed this story and read it in one day. It’s short, fast-paced, realistic and important. Also, LGBTQIA+ for Pride Month!
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