Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back Creek by Leslie Goetsch

It's 1975. Eighteen-year-old Grace Barnett is overwhelmed by the situations presented to her in what becomes one of the most important summers of her life. Waking up one morning, she witnesses a deadly boat crash in the creek behind her house. As though this wasn't enough of a trauma, the accidental nature of the crash comes into question. Soon, many people have come to the unspoken conclusion that Tommy White, the man who died in the crash, may have crashed the boat on purpose. To add to this, Grace's sister Lillian decided to resurface in the family from her five-year absence on the very day of Tommy White's funeral. This is the very same day that Grace's mother sneaks away from her family, claiming to be leaving for a short time while she has no plans of returning. Coupled with the confusing signals of Cal, a boy Grace doesn't know if she has a crush on, the summer is full of emotional situations. Further along in the book, it becomes apparent that Lillian is pregnant. Grace must delve into the circumstances surrounding her sister's disappearance and pregnancy while trying to prepare for college, getting her mother to return, and deciphering Cal's mixed signals. But is it too much for one summer?

Back Creek takes a believable protagonist, Grace Barnett, and presents her with some of the most difficult situations a teenager can face- all in one summer. I very much enjoyed the complexity and truth of the many plots. Grace's feelings were real and pure, and I felt a connection to her as though to a friend. She struggled through her issues with inspiring strength and perseverance. The plot moved at a good pace and every issue was resolved by the end of the book. The setting of the book, both time and place, provided an interesting twist to the book, the Vietnam War just coming to a close. Devotion, lack of devotion, pride, and the act of unearthing secrets are explored in this book, creating a strong basis for a well-constructed plot. Leslie Goetsch has succeeded in writing a heart-warming coming-of-age story that every girl will love. Back Creek is beautifully crafted and easily relatable: an instant winner.

Rating:9

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Melrose, MA United States

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