by Carolyn Mackler
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The concept of tracking five teens over four years of high school is incredibly ambitious. Tracking one teen over four years, or five teens over one year, would be ambitious in itself; combining the two multiplies the challenge. And yet, Mackler not only manages it but does it well. Jake is in love with his best friend, Ted; Zoe is shipped off to stay with her aunt while her celebrity mom has another visit to rehab; gorgeous Whitney struggles with her best friends, the mean girls; Gregor is in love with Whitney from afar; and Mia’s changing identity makes her struggle with her own best friend.
You get to know each of the five members of this freshman orientation group as individuals and are along with them over the highlights and lowlights of their high school careers, including ways in which their lives intersect. What’s interesting is that you get to see multiple characters reacting to the same situation in different ways and with different background knowledge, which could help a person understand some of the shenanigans of high school better. I only docked it a half point because I wanted to get more in depth with each person’s story. Also, a few of the teens fall deeply, intensely in love, which was fun to read, even on the heels of another intense love story.
Reads like: Now I’ll Tell You Everything (covers a huge time span of 40 years, so deals with events quickly and on the surface level – but in a good way)
Intense romances like: I’ll Give You the Sun, Eleanor and Park.