by Kieran Scott. My instincts were right – I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book that has surprising depth.
Ally Ryan grew up in a wealthy community in Orchard Hill, in a big house with lots of friends who lived in big houses. When she left with her parents over a year ago, after her father’s financial scandal caused her friends’ families to lose a lot of money, she never thought she’d be back. But here she was:
I hesitated for a split second at the foot of Harvest Lane. What was I doing here anyway? I hadn’t seen this hill since February of my freshman year – the night my family and I had driven down it for what I thought was the last time, me staring out the back window of my dad’s soon-to-be repossessed BMW, trying to commit every detail to memory. I hadn’t even called my friends to say good-bye. Hadn’t texted. Hadn’t e-mailed. Hadn’t tweeted a less-than-140-character “See ya!” I’d been too confused, too scared, too embarrassed. And soon, too much time had passed, and getting in touch felt awkward and humiliating and I just…never had. Now here I was, eighteen months later, wishing I could go back and smack my freshman self upside the head. Because if I had said good-bye, if I had kept in touch with any of them, it would have made moving back here so much easier. But how was supposed to know my mother would one day get a job at Orchard Hill High? When we left, my parents had told me we were gone for good, and I believed them.
So, Ally and her mom have come back to their old town, not to live in one of those huge houses on the hill, but in a small rented condo. Coming back poor and not staying in touch aren’t Ally’s only problems, though. As she encounters friends from her past, she realizes it’s even more complicated than that, and it seems like Ally will always be left out of the in-group.
Meanwhile, there’s a new family living in her old house, with a son Ally’s age. Although Jake and Ally like each other immediately, Jake is now a solid part of Ally’s old group of friends – the friends who aren’t speaking to her anymore.
I liked that this novel was multi-dimensional. It wasn’t just about the rich kids ostracizing their old friend who no longer has money. It’s about facing challenges in life, staying loyal to family, and discovering what true friendship really is. The novel alternates between Jake’s and Ally’s voices (with two different narrators on the audio) which makes it even more interesting, to hear about events from their two different perspectives. I enjoyed it very much.
Simon & Schuster Audio
(NOTE: This book is most appropriate for older teens, since it includes profanity and teen drinking.)