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Studious good girl Auden, named for the poet, makes a snap decision to spend her summer before college at her father's beach house rather than with her mother, a professor whose bad habits include male grad students. Auden's parents divorced three years earlier, a split she's not yet over. Her remarried father has already produced another heir, a colicky baby named Thisbe (after a tragic figure from Shakespeare), with his young wife, Heidi, who owns a boutique. Feeling sympathy for stressed-out Heidi, Auden agrees to do the shop's bookkeeping, providing her with an instant social circle-the teenage clerks plus the boys from the neighboring bike rental, including hunky, wounded Eli. Both night owls, Auden and Eli bond when he coaxes her to experience childhood activities-bowling, food fights, learning to ride a bike-that her insufferable parents never bothered to provide. Auden's thoughtful observations make for enjoyable reading-this is solid if not "top shelf" Dessen: another summer of transformation in which the heroine learns that growing up means "propelling yourself forward, into whatever lies ahead, one turn of the wheel at a time." Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Dessen has built a well-deserved reputation for delicately depicting teen girls in turmoil. Her latest title showcases a socially awkward young woman who seeks solace in the comforting rigidity of academic success. Auden is about to start college in the fall, and decides to escape her control-freak professor mom to spend the summer with her novelist father, his new young wife, and their brand-new baby daughter, Thisbe. Over the course of the summer, Auden tackles many new projects: learning to ride a bike, making real connections with peers, facing the emotional fallout of her parents' divorce, distancing herself from her mother, and falling in love with Eli, a fellow insomniac bicyclist recovering from his own traumas. The cover may mislead readers, as despite the body language of the girl in pink and the hunky blue-jeaned boy balanced on a bike, this is no slight romance: there's real substance here. Dessen's many fans will not be deterred by the length or that cover; they expect nuanced, subtle writing, and they won't be disappointed.--Carton, Debbie Copyright 2009 Booklist
School Library Journal
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Gr 8 Up-It's the summer before college and Auden goes to her father's house in the small coastal town of Colby for some well-earned R&R. Having no plans other than to preread textbooks for her first-semester classes at Defriese University, the would-be bookworm's solitude is quickly disrupted by Thisbe, her colicky new half sister. Strolling the boardwalk with a fussy baby and late night coffee runs at the Gas/Gro lead to chance encounters with the locals, whose main pastime revolves around Colby's bike park. Auden's curiosity is piqued by Eli, a bike-shop worker whose reserved, solitary nature seems to match her own. Her social sphere widens when Heidi, her sleep-deprived stepmom, asks for some bookkeeping help in her fashion boutique, and Auden is drawn into the circle of girls who work and hang out there, including Maggie, the clerk also bound for Defriese in September, and sidekicks Leah and Esther. Auden joins in on evening rituals of "store-going," eating junk food, and house parties while keeping her budding relationship with Eli to herself. Even Dessen's minor characters are multifaceted and interesting. Readers will be most absorbed by Auden and Eli's romantic friendship, the type soul mates are born of, played out in the bike shop, Colby's all-night Laundromat, and coffee shops. This summer vacation-themed story will be savored.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.