Shannon is at a difficult time in her life. She has just graduated high school, but she hasn’t figured out what she wants to do with her life, so she doesn’t see any reason to go off to college and waste what little money her parents have. The mill in their small town has closed, and Shannon’s dad hasn’t been able to find a job since. Since many people are out of work or have left the town, Mom’s craft shop business is drying up and losing money. They are going to have to run it out of their garage. Shannon is working at the local gas station/convenience store, getting whatever hours she can to help out at home and to pay for her car insurance and cell phone. Her two best friends are leaving for college, and Shannon is having a tough time. But her eighteenth birthday is coming up, and her beloved and eccentric Aunt Rebecca always comes for her birthday, so she has that to hang on to. But Rebecca doesn’t show up, and finally, a phone call comes notifying the family Rebecca has passed away. Shannon is devastated. She isn’t able to function and ends up losing her job, and although it was a crappy job, at least she had money coming in. She and her parents are summoned to a lawyer’s office for the reading of the will. Rebecca leaves Shannon with a little money, a letter, and an old camper.
Shannon’s mother tries to get Shannon out of her funk. She has made Shannon a partner in the craft business and thinks keeping her busy will help her move on, but Shannon has other ideas. Sometimes the ending of one thing is the beginning of another. Without letting herself think things through too carefully, Shannon jumps in the camper, and with her father’s blessing, she drives off to find herself. Rebecca’s letter is the beginning of a scavenger hunt that will help Shannon on that quest. Shannon does learn some important lessons about herself and what she is capable of, but at one stop along the way, she finds out a family secret that rocks her world.
Coming-of-age stories these days usually have younger protagonists, but perhaps author Glenn Erick Miller has it just right. Many young people really pass this rubicon as they leave high school and start to find out who they really are. That rings very true in this book, and many in the young adult audience will relate to Shannon’s story. Journey stories work very well for coming-of-age stories, and this is no exception. Shannon’s journey is interesting and challenging, and it allows for a cast of interesting secondary characters to be introduced. The only thing that keeps this from earning a five-star review is that it stretches credulity too far with the small amount of money Shannon has and what she is able to do with it, and the fact that she travels for many days (not weeks as she states in the book), and yet never is more than a four-hour drive from home. Overall this is a well-written, engaging story with characters readers will care about, and it even offers the possibility for a sequel.
|Glenn Erick Miller
|Fitzroy Books/Regal House
|Buy this Book