December 18, 2006

Last Year...

This book is a 2006 Cybil Award Nominee for YA Fiction.

Kay, thirteen, has a goal for her school year: to get noticed and to get a boyfriend. She's been crushing on Justin forever, but Justin has always just been slightly out of reach, in the middle of a circle of popular kids like Lexy, and Kay is tired of waiting. When a guy plows into her friend Jules at the skating rink, it seems fated that Kay has found the boy of her dreams. Never mind that he's sixteen and already drives, and that Kay's life so far has been dreaming of boys and spending her weekends babysitting. That she's dating a high school student is going to be her little secret... something else she doesn't tell her mother.

But Jamie Barnett isn't going to be a secret for long. By the time she turns fourteen, a series of tragedies bring the Barnett family to the attention of the whole town. Kay thought that her first kiss was going to be the biggest thing that happened to her this year. She was wrong.

There is too much going on in the story, and the characters and activities seem to fly right past. Author Kitt Raser Kelleher gets the breathless, pre-teen feel of this time of life right, though, and produces a piece which might better be enjoyed by middle-graders striving to move into the high school crowd more quickly.

This Time Last Year is a predictable look back at an atypical year in the life of a young girl.

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