After their mother's death, seventeen-year-old Will reluctantly follows his flighty older sister to the desert, where he is determined to make a new and stable life for himself-with or without his sister.
"Gr. 8-12. Although his sister, Paige, is the older--and, in fact, his legal guardian--it's Will Griffin who's the steadier and more reliable of the pair. But when flighty Paige gets the notion that the desert is where she belongs (Will suspects she's found a new boyfriend out there), Will has no choice but to follow, especially since she's signed him up to cook in the restaurant where she will be working. At first it's difficult: he misses the ocean breezes of home, and the work is backbreaking. But meeting a local whittler, Sam Webb, helps, and so does getting to know intense Mike Macey (an emotionally demanding teenager, embarrassingly forthright), who needs a friend as much as Will. Will, Mike, and Paige are sturdily drawn, but Sam is too wise, his sad secret trite. Ferris' plot dwindles to a hackneyed close, which is surprising, given the novel's strong beginning. But razor-sharp scenes of verbal sparring will attract readers early on, and those who relish books about loners coming together will be rewarded with intelligent insights into friendship and independence. ~--Stephanie Zvirin"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Having been placed under the guardianship of unpredictable Paige, 17-year-old Will Griffin has no choice but to go along with his older sister's crazy whims. When Paige decides that she and her brother should rent their house by the ocean and move to a remote desert town, Will is dismayed at the prospect of changing schools and starting a job as a short-order cook at the Snakebite Cafe. Yet after growing accustomed to his new environment, Will's grim outlook begins to change as he forms friendships with two troubled individuals--a whittler and an amateur filmmaker. By emphasizing the expanse, silence and subtle beauty of the desert landscape, Ferris ( Invincible Summer ; Looking for Home ) creates an effective backdrop for the confidential chats and internal reckonings which abound throughout her novel. Although the presentation of male/female roles is somewhat stereotyped, characters' conflicts are convincingly and movingly expressed. Without providing pat resolutions to problems, this book offers some thought-provoking ideas about commitment, dependence and self-discovery. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved