Calista “Cali” Snipe and Skyler “Sky” McCray are best friends who are surviving the pratfalls and joys that is Junior High School in Columbus, Ohio. They have survived a harrowing kidnapping ordeal and seek normalcy. However, their ordeal has brought them closer, hinting at a possible romance that might forever change their lives. They are part of a larger circle of friends in their junior high experiencing the joys and heartaches of adolescent youth. Their group, a series of interlocking friendships, spend their time outside of class on the various sports teams (wrestling, football) or at the occasional Friday Night dances. The dances are the scene of togetherness but barely concealed raging hormones. The complexity of romantic feelings has ensnared mutual friends, such as Bill, who is involved in an interracial relationship/love triangle, where he might be the odd one out. Girls in the circle are the object of multiple crushes from lovelorn guys. The junior high is also the center for wanton drug use engaged in by athletes and troubled kids. One of the groups’ friends, Mohini, is the target of a rival drug gang when she starts selling at the junior high. The threats received by Mohini feed an escalating turf war between rival gangs that threatens to spiral into a shooting spectacle. Cali and Sky have been pinpointed for an angry classmate’s ire for foiling his own after-school liaisons. He has fixated on the two and plots revenge. As Cali and Sky contemplate their burgeoning romance, they are the target of dangerous individuals. They view the young pair as perfect wares to be peddled to a pedophile ring. Unbeknownst to the young teens, their previous kidnapping was related to this insidious plotting. The specter of a drug kingpin looking to maintain order and make money in various illegalities looms over the Junior High and Columbus at large. The stage is set for action.
Almost Fourteen is a coming-of-age tale in an era where adolescence seems to move at a breakneck pace. The ups and downs of maturing teens are written with care and concern, particularly when it comes to the parental point of view. The kids are written with aplomb, fallible but street-smart. The adults are caring, not inclined to be laissez-faire. This book grabs the reader’s attention early and refuses to let up. Overall, this book is very entertaining and compelling. “An ‘A’ all the way.”
|Page Count||575 pages|
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