Saturday, 12 September 2009

An Off Year by Claire Zulkey

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: September 2009
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from the publisher - Penguin US

Cecily has always done everything as she was supposed to: taken the right classes, gotten the right grades, applied to the right colleges. But after a lifetime of following the rules, she surprises everyone by arriving for her freshman year of college . . . and turning around. There are infinite possibilities for Cecily's unexpected gap year. She could volunteer, or travel around the world—but, for now, Cecily is content to do absolutely nothing. What follows is a year of snarkily observed self-doubt and selfdiscovery during which Cecily must ask herself, for the first time, what does she really want to do with her life?

Freaked out about what you'll do after high school? Clueless of how to make a right choice for your future? Or merely thinking you're incapable of blending in to have real fun? This book may be what you need to get through all this. Cute and sympathetic, An Off Year is like a guide book but in a lighter and much interesting form.

The book told the story about Cecily, a teenager who had set her very first steps on campus and decided to come back, shocking herself as well as her family and friends. The situation did sound unfamiliar - not like all of us would come to college and then take a year off so suddenly. Bu then, how many of us have doubted about what we were going to do with our lives once high school was over? Tons, I bet. So reading this book was like reading your life in presence (or recalling past emotions, in my case). It was just true and cordial.

Cecily was a very confused character. She did not just have problem with the school, she was totally oblivious of what to do next. It was fun learning how she tried to fix her life, but sometimes I thought she was stuck in a messy circle. Cecily was whiny when her family members wanted to help, then remember what she did and thought of herself as a somewhat loser, afterward felt all lonely because her friends had changed. It felt repeated and it was certainly not good for impatient readers. I also had no idea why her friend Mike chose to do such a crazy useless thing - I won't tell you what he did, find out yourself and then we can discuss about it later.

So, the things that made me appreciate An Off Year was that it wrapped up most of the problems of a teenager soon to be adult like the fear of being so lost in a sea of people or not knowing to how face reality in such a graceful way. And Claire Zulkey didn't try to tell you what you should do or what's right and wrong either. She helped open your mind, giving you a chance to see yourself clearly and more precisely so you can make a decision that you would not regret later. That means she would not give you any answers, instead, encourage you to be strong and do it yourself. Great isn't it?

Really, this book may be not one of the perfect and mind-blowing kind but I think that all of us teenagers should have a copy. It'll be a very helpful friend for the progress of transition from highschool to college/uni.

Rating: 3.5/5


Diana Dang said...

I think I definitely need this. Applications for colleges and universities are short months away and I'm freaking! ><

debbie said...

i like the cover ... !! It's so cute with those rabbit slipper !! amber, my birthday is coming.............. Can you give me a pair of slipper like in the cover ?? :(

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

It does sound good!