AN Off Year by Claire Zulkey | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
AN Off Year

AN Off Year

by Claire Zulkey
     
 

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Cecily has always done everything as she was supposed to: taken the right classes, gotten the right grades, applied to the right colleges. But after a lifetime of following the rules, she surprises everyone by arriving for her freshman year of college . . . and turning around. There are infinite possibilities for Cecily's unexpected gap year. She could

Overview

Cecily has always done everything as she was supposed to: taken the right classes, gotten the right grades, applied to the right colleges. But after a lifetime of following the rules, she surprises everyone by arriving for her freshman year of college . . . and turning around. There are infinite possibilities for Cecily's unexpected gap year. She could volunteer, or travel around the world - but, for now, Cecily is content to do absolutely nothing. What follows is a year of snarkily observed self-doubt and selfdiscovery during which Cecily must ask herself, for the first time, what does she really want to do with her life?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/27/2015
Teens who get butterflies in their stomachs just thinking about starting college will relate to Cecily, who, upon her arrival at her Kenyon College dorm, decides campus life is not for her (" ‘You know, actually, I think I'm just going to go back home with you,' I told my dad, who was still trying to decipher the campus map"). What follows is her "off" year, a time she would rather spend watching TV than trading barbs with her boomerang-daughter older sister, and getting tossed into therapy by her professor father. In a candid first novel filled with funny-smart, true-to-life observations and dialogue between Cecily and her family members, Zulkey traces Cecily's coming to terms with her fears as she watches old friends move forward and regrets being left behind. Rather than giving pat solutions or clear causes for the protagonist's reluctance to begin a new life, the book remains focused on her maturing process. If her anxieties aren't completely quelled by the story's end, readers will sense that Cecily's second attempt to leave the nest will go more smoothly. Ages 14—up. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"For students and families tangled in the complex and often stressful process of transitioning from high school to college, Zulkey's novel provides comfort and advice, with a healthy dose of humor." -Elizabeth McArdle, College Advising Dean
Booklist
[A] strong, fresh-voiced first novel with definite crossover appeal to the college set . . .
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
How does it feel to be a college freshman? Have you ever been afraid to jump into something new? Cecily Powell drives to Kenyon College with her father to start her first year of college. They unpack the boxes and take them into Cecily's dormitory room; but suddenly Cecily realizes she is not ready to start school—something is not right. For eighteen years Cecily has followed all the rules; now she surprises her father by telling him she will return home that night. Suddenly Cecily is starting a "gap year" without a plan. While most students fight starvation in Africa or travel the world, Cecily does not really know what she wants to do with her year off. Should she travel with her mother? Or visit her brother, Josh, at college? For the first time, Cecily contemplates what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Meanwhile, her friends head off to college and into new friendships and relationships, leaving Cecily behind. Will she ever catch up? Will she successfully enter Kenyon College next fall—or will Cecily become a lost soul? With humor and skillful writing, Claire Zulkey depicts a girl reluctantly entering a "gap" year between high school and college. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—As she is about to unlock the door to her dorm room at the start of her freshman year, Cecily Powell decides she's not ready for college. Without a word of complaint, her father drives her back to Chicago where she must live with the decision she's just made—to take some time off. But instead of traveling or seeking out new experiences, Cecily happily remains at home doing pretty much nothing. Eventually, she realizes that she must face her fears. After exploring her past and her goals for the future with the help of family, an old friend, and a couple of professionals whom her dad hires to nudge her along her way, Cecily decides it's okay to be uncertain. Zulkey addresses the anticipation and trepidation that accompany leaving home in a funny and frank way. Cecily's experiences and emotions are honest and refreshing. What is also worthy of applause is how the author avoids clichéd scenarios—such as rekindling an old romance or being rescued by a best friend. Instead, the protagonist discovers her strengths. As they watch, learn, wait, and consider what they would do in her shoes, the supporting characters in Cecily's life also grow through her off year.—Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Cecily Powell arrives at college with the rest of her freshman class, but instead of unpacking, she asks her father to turn their car around and drive from Ohio back to Chicago. She doesn't have great plans for an off year; she just knows that now is not the time to start college. Though her dad is fairly easygoing and acquiesces this far, he refuses to let Cecily sit on the couch and do nothing. With help from counselors, Cecily gains the confidence over her gap year to restart her college career. Cecily is a touch sarcastic and refreshingly normal, neither a jaded overachiever nor a struggling student with much to overcome. She fights with her two older siblings but also improves her relationship with them. The ways she grows apart from her high-school friends are sad but realistic. When she leaves the past, she feels more comfortable with the ideas of college and her future. Teens who have doubted the high-school-college-life progression for even a moment will recognize themselves in Cecily, perhaps to their parents' dismay. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525421597
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/03/2009
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"For students and families tangled in the complex and often stressful process of transitioning from high school to college, Zulkey's novel provides comfort and advice, with a healthy dose of humor." -Elizabeth McArdle, College Advising Dean

Meet the Author

Claire Zulkey is a humorist and journalist who has written for the Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, and many other newspapers and magazines. Ms. Zulkey lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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