Published by Scholastic Inc. on January 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Kim Culbertson is back with another fantastic new novel about what happens when you've been planning for the future, but everything falls apart now. Mara James has always been a perfectionist with a plan. But despite years of overachieving at her elite school, Mara didn't plan on having a total meltdown during her calculus exam. Like a rip-up-the-test-and-get-escorted-out kind of meltdown. And she definitely didn't plan on never wanting to show her face again. Mara knows she should go back,only she can't bring herself to do it. Because suddenly she doesn't know why she's been overachieving all these years. So Mara tells her mom she wants to go live with her estranged dad in Tahoe. Maybe in a place like Tahoe, where people go to get away from everyday life, and with a dad like Trick McHale, a ski bum avoiding real life, Mara can figure things out. Except Tahoe is nothing like she thought it would be. There are awesome new friends and a chance to finally get to know Trick, but there are also still massive amounts of schoolwork. Can Mara find a balance between the future and the now, or will she miss out on both?
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK. I think I devoured it within 3 hours. YUP, I DID. This book hooked me in from the start, in which I instantly love Mara James. I mean, she tore up her test paper! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TEST. IN AN ELITE SCHOOL. Yeah, I definitely love her, alright. I definitely relate to Mara since the first page, and I actually think that most readers will relate to her, whether you go to an elite school or not, because we all know what it’s like to NEED to do well. To always have to do well, be the best, instead of be YOUR best, and forever competing with everyone. Like I said, each and every one of us more or less went through the same phase that Mara did, except maybe the way some of us handled it are better than hers.
Mara was SMART. Like, legit smart. And she loves list. We definitely get to see her personality change, getting more relaxed, but I love how the author did not completely make it seem like OH, COME TO TAHOE AND YOU WILL DEFINITELY BE RELAXED kind of thing. Instead, the author did add in certain moments when Mara’s old habit will come up again, and I think that’s a good thing, because it shows that it didn’t change her. It just made her maybe lessen her stress? I don’t really know how to explain.
The romance in this book got me feeling confused too, which is really funny, because Mara was confused too. And I guess that was the whole point of reading? To be in the character’s shoes. And I wouldn’t say that there was a love triangle, but I guess some people will call it that. Me? I would just call it “mistaken love”, in which there was a wrong guy at the right place kind of situation. So, nope, no love triangle here.
And I love how there’s the whole family topic embed into this book, and that the author didn’t make us choose sides between the parents. I hated it when other authors do that. In this book, even though Mara’s parents weren’t together, each had their flaws and best sides. Like, there’ll be a time when you definitely cheer on her dad, but there will also be a time when you pat her mom on the back for the good job done. Get what I mean?
So yeah, I think most people should read this, even parents or adults. It shows how the education system in this world really works.