Title: Speed of Life by Carol Weston
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Category: Middle-grade Fiction, 329 pages
Published: April 4, 2017
Content Rating: PG (There are dating and kissing scenes among young teens)
Sofia lost her mother eight months ago, and her friends were 100% there for her. Now it's a new year and they're ready for Sofia to move on.
Problem is, Sofia can't bounce back, can't recharge like a cellphone. She decides to write Dear Kate, an advice columnist for Fifteen Magazine, and is surprised to receive a fast reply. Soon the two are exchanging emails, and Sofia opens up and spills all, including a few worries that are totally embarrassing. Turns out even advice columnists don't have all the answers, and one day Sofia learns a secret that flips her world upside down.
SPEED OF LIFE is the heartbreaking, heartwarming story of a girl who thinks her life is over when really it's just beginning. It's a novel about love, family, grief, and growing up.
As a mother with teens, this story really resonated with me. The story is told through Sofia's first-person POV and this is what makes the story so delightful, heartbreaking and funny. She is a great heroine as she navigates grief, high school, boys, first love and the challenges of family. I just love MG and YA books that involve parents and family life, and that do so realistically.
The author, who has been the "Dear Carol" advice columnist at Girls' Life since 1994, cleverly uses her work experience to draw a fun plot that revolves around spilling one's secrets anonymously. Sofia decides to write to Dear Kate about her feelings on everything she is going through, only to discover Dear Kate turns out to be her dad's new girlfriend.
The best part of this book is the life lessons that Sofia learns throughout all the changes she goes through. They are gems, such as this one:
"...everything can change in an instant--for worse, sure, but also for better. Sometimes, if you just keep climbing, you get an amazing view. You see what's behind you and what's ahead of you and--the big surprise--what's inside you."
These gems coupled with her thoughts on growing up made this a wonderful read. The story is also set in New York City, which I enjoyed.
Speed of Life will resonate with young teens, especially those going through the loss of a parent or close friend. It will also resonate with adults who have teen kids. I loved reading this story and will add this one to my Best Reads of 2017 list.
Disclosure: Thanks to Raincoast Books for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
Carol Weston has been the "Dear Carol" advice columnist at Girls' Life since 1994. Her sixteen books include Ava and Pip, Ava and Taco Cat, Ava XOX, The Diary of Melanie Martin, and Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You. She lives in Manhattan. Visit her at www.carolweston.com.