The Best Possible Answer

The Best Possible Answer

by E. Katherine Kottaras

Hardcover

$17.09 $18.99 Save 10% Current price is $17.09, Original price is $18.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Thursday, October 18  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details

Overview

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

AP Exams – check

SAT test – check

College Application – check

Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for– check

Super-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has never had room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection is derailed when her boyfriend leaks secret pictures of her to the entire school—pictures no one was ever meant to see. Making matters worse, her parents might be getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Vivi feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new circle of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous and intriguing guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again—trust. For the first time in her life, Vivi realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

E. Katherine Kottaras once again captures what it means to be a teenager in The Best Possible Answer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250072818
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 813,303
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

E. Katherine Kottaras is the author of the young adult novel How to Be Brave. She is at her happiest when she is either 1) at the playground with her husband and daughter and their wonderful community of friends, 2) breathing deeply in a full handstand, or 3) writing. She now lives in Los Angeles where she's hard at work on her next book.

Read an Excerpt

The Best Possible Answer


By E. Katherine Kottaras

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 E. Katherine Kottaras
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-07281-8



CHAPTER 1

AP Physics Exam: Sample Question


A girl is traveling home from the AP physics exam on her bicycle. She is traveling at x m/s and can stop at a distance d m with a maximum negative acceleration. If the bicycle travels at 2x m/s, which of the following statements are true?

(A) The girl is so stressed, exhausted, and overworked that she falls asleep while riding her bike.

(B) That's right; she loses momentum after taking a three-hour exam on the laws of gravity.

(C) The girl won't know for a few months how she did on the actual test.

(D) But it couldn't have been good, considering she couldn't get from point A to point B without falling on her face.

(E) All of the above.


You know the answer.

(Hint: Test-prep research shows you should actually always pick E.)

And now my mom wants me to explain that answer, not just mark the bubble black and call it a day. I also have to analyze data and make relevant observations and explain the process by which I've managed to land myself in a hospital room with a CT scan, a mild concussion, and a hideous gash on my forehead that probably makes me look like something out of The Walking Dead.

She stands at the edge of my bed, her face heavy with worry, her voice pained with the shame of what I've done, of who I am.

"How did you get to this place, Viviana?"

"How could you have done this, Viviana?"

"I can't take much more, Viviana."

I close my eyes and turn on my side. "I'm too tired to talk about it, Mama."

My little sister runs into the room and turns up the TV.

"Come on, Mila," my mom grunts at her. "Let's go." But before they leave the room, my mom leans over the bed and whispers in my ear: "We'll talk about this when we get home."

But I don't want to leave this bed. This bed has crisp white sheets and a soft fleece blanket. It smells like bleach, which smells like peace to me, and in it I can lie still and watch Jeopardy! on mute so I can guess without knowing what the contestants are saying or how condescending Alex Trebek is. It doesn't matter if I get the answers right or wrong — it only matters that I tried. There's a call button if I get thirsty or want Jell-O or an extra pillow, and I don't know my roommate's name, nor do I care, so long as she keeps her TV on mute, too.

In this room, there are fluorescent lights and beeping machines, but there is no phone with the interminable notifications and reminders, no AP or SAT study guides, no agenda, no laptops, no books. All that was confiscated from me the minute they checked me in. I wish they'd keep it all forever.

The doctor meets my mom right at the door so that they can consult about my "mental state of being." My mom closes the door halfway, and though she thinks she's whispering, I can hear every word. Maybe part of it is the cold familiarity of a hospital room, the fact that we've spent too much time in consultations about her own prognosis and ultimate fate, which has turned out good so far but is still yet unknown — her accent isn't usually that noticeable, but I can hear it's thicker with the stress of what I've done and where I am.

She's so very mad at me.

My chest starts to tighten with that light stabbing of anxiety that I've been feeling for months. It's a remnant of the Episode that brought me here.

I take three deep breaths.

That's what the nurses told me to do if I feel it coming on again.

But my lungs are cold and tight.

I have to force myself to settle down. Because I will not fall into panic. I will not lose control again.

Simply put, I don't have time.

I still have the AP English exam next week and finals and then getting packed for the Academy, not to mention fall SATs and summer reading lists and all my college applications.

I will not fail.

Not again.

"Psst. Vivi, you okay?" It's Mila, at the foot of my bed. She's snuck away from our mom. I don't open my eyes. I don't feel like talking to anyone.

She pokes my leg. "I know you're awake. You were just playing Jeopardy! You were wrong about the tiger question. The Sumatran is the smallest subspecies of tiger, not the Burmese." She's way too smart for an eight-year-old.

"I literally learned that from National Geographic," she continues in this fake grown-up voice she's recently taken on. "You want to watch when we get home tonight?"

My eyes are closed, but I can tell she's doing that thing where she stares at me to make me respond. I bet her tongue is out and her face is contorted. I try not to move. I try not to blink.

"Vivi, come on." She pokes me again. "Are you okay? Talk to me."

She may be smart enough to memorize long lists of animal facts, but she's too young to understand the long list of possible reasons for why I'm here today, why I'm stuck in panic mode, why I don't ever want to leave.


AP English Language and Composition Exam: Sample Free Response Question

Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe nearly cracked her skull because she fell asleep while riding her bicycle home from a Very Important Test that will determine her Future Life Self.

In a well-written essay, develop your position with clear, detailed evidence to argue who is to blame for this particular mess of a situation.

From the very early years, Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe's father told her to work hard, to give nothing less than her "very best." Even when she earned — EARNED, I say — straight A's, he still insisted that she could "do better." He's an engineer and should know. He made her promise not to date until she was at least eighteen, until after she was accepted into college (fingers crossed for Stanford, his alma mater).

Then, after she makes one mistake — one wrong choice, one missed bubble on the Scantron — he disappears — threatens to destroy his marriage, her family, the equilibrium of everything she knows. He didn't care that her mother — his wife of twenty years, the so-called love of his life — looked death in the eye — thyroid cancer — and won. Instead, he moved halfway around the world to build skyscrapers in Singapore without explaining why. He didn't care about leaving a recently very sick woman. He didn't care that his daughters needed him, that Viviana needed him.

Of course, then, her father must be to blame.

However, upon second thought, perhaps Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe's mother is no better. She won't admit it, but she's just as disappointed and embarrassed. She's always sided with Viviana's father when he pushed her. Her mother, for her part, likes to remind Viviana of how much she's survived. How her family left the former Soviet Union when she was thirteen. How she spent her prime teen years in flux, without a real home. How the government promised them a new, better life, but they became stuck in the middle of an international tug-of-war, simply because they were Jewish. How they waited eleven months stuck in middle-of-nowhere Italy, not knowing what was to become of them, before the governments finally allowed her family to leave. She came to the U.S. so Viviana could have a better life than her. All Viviana's heard, her entire sixteen years, is that she has to work hard, be grateful, do her absolute best, make her proud.

It's too much pressure, these stories.

It's too much to take in.

Therefore, her mother must be to blame.

However, then there's Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe's ex-boyfriend, Dean Andrews. Apparently, Viviana's BFF Sammie always knew he was the biggest ass on the North Side of Chicago (perhaps even all of Illinois, perhaps even all of North America, Canada and all). During their late-night Binocular and Braiding Sessions, Sammie repeatedly reminded Viviana of that fact. She said so from the very start, that he's totally and completely to blame.

While the evidence presented above is thorough and complicated and nuanced with the conflicting emotions of all those involved, do not be swayed by such arguments. They are only part of the mess, not the main contributor to it.

The bottom line is: Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe is, ultimately, the most at fault. Her father warned her; her mother begged her; her own best friend questioned her life choices.

But did she listen? Of course not.

Instead, she took on a boyfriend — she's the one who made the choice to succumb to that distraction, and then to send him that picture (no one forced her). She had other, more important things she should have been focusing on.

Instead of accomplishing the very best, she's sunk to her absolute worst.


"Viviana, talk to me." Mila's voice sounds small again, scared. "What happened? Mom won't tell me. Are you going to be okay?"

I roll over and open my eyes. "Hi."

"Hi." Her little face is full of worry. She's a tiny version of my mom, with her big dark eyes and stick-straight bob. I look nothing like either of them. I inherited my dad's light eyes and wild red hair. But Mila and I both inherited my mom's ability to worry. I suppose it's better than inheriting his ability to flee. "Are you sick?"

"Kind of. Not really. I just fell and bumped my head." I don't mention the blacking out or the concussion or the choking feeling that won't go away. "I'll be okay."

"I can take care of you tonight," she says. "You can lie on the couch, and we can watch whatever you want. I'll be your nurse, get you juice, and take your temperature and stuff." She strokes my hair, as if doing that could erase everything that's happened. "I'll get you anything you want, anything at all."

All I want is to be left alone. I probably, really, most likely, absolutely did fail that exam today, but if there's one thing I did learn from my physics class, it's that an object at rest wants to remain at rest. I want to remain at rest.

I want to resist motion.

I want inertia.

But I know that's not an option right now.

There is no option F.

"Thanks, Mila," I say. "Right now, I just want to sleep a little."

"Okay," she says, but then she sits down next to me and continues to pet my head. I wish she'd leave the room, let me be.

I don't say anything.

Instead, I close my eyes and try not to cry.


Habits of an Effective Test Taker #1

Find a study buddy, someone you can trust, someone who can really push you to do your best work. Have that person test you on the material so that you uncover your weaknesses. Make sure you return the favor!


We get home, and I immediately text Sammie to come down. She lives above us on the seventeenth floor, and I'm feeling especially grateful that the only fully normal human being I know lives a mere forty seconds away via an emergency stairwell.

She lets herself into our apartment with her key. We lock my bedroom door so my mom can't nosy her way in. "What happened to you? I've been texting you all day."

We climb into my bed and lean our backs against the window that overlooks all of Chicago. I fill her in on my accident, how my mom had to leave her Constitutional Law class and how obviously annoyed she was about all of it. How my dad, away on what has become a six-month business trip, hasn't even returned my mom's calls to see if I'm okay. "Once again, I've proved that I can't do anything right."

"I'm sorry." Sammie reaches over to me and gives me a hug.

"The doctors say I need therapy."

Sammie shrugs. "I went to group counseling after my dad died. It helped to talk to someone. It's just talking."

That's easy for her to say, but my mom is skeptical of things like therapy and counseling. When the ER doctor handed her a printed list of local psychologists along with my discharge papers, my mom visibly winced. "It's like one hundred and fifty bucks a session," I say. "So, I don't know. I mean, we probably can't afford it anyway."

"Well, you can always talk to me."

"At least I'll be out of here in a few weeks." When I was in the eighth grade, I announced that I wanted to be an engineer, like my dad, so he immediately signed me up for the Illinois State Design and Engineering Summer Academy. I spent the last two summers in a downtown day camp program learning about things like computer modeling, design thinking, data acquisition, and structural analysis. This summer, since I'm going into my senior year, I'm going to be staying on campus two hours away as part of the residential program.

Sammie pouts. "I'm going to miss you."

I lean my head on her shoulder. "I'm going to miss you more," I say, though the truth is, I'm looking forward to getting away from home.

My mom knocks on the door. I slink down onto my pillow, and Sammie unlocks the door to let her in. My mom approaches the bed and places her hand on my forehead, as if I were a child with a slight fever and something as simple as a small dose of Tylenol would make me feel better, as if she could make all the discomfort go away. "You need to go to sleep."

"Mama, I've been sleeping all day."

My mom frowns. "The doctors said you work too hard, that you've made yourself sick."

"Please, I don't want to talk about it."

"But, Viviana, I don't like how you —"

"Mama, I'm fine." I tell her that I don't need anything, that I have Sammie to watch over me, that I will go to sleep if she'd just leave me be. Sammie nods, and finally my mom leaves.

Sammie crawls into bed next to me. "She's pretty upset."

"Let's not talk about it anymore?"

"Whatever you want."

I roll over and look out the window at the city outside. "Tell me a story?"

"Sure," Sammie says, and reaches for the binoculars, but then she stalls before she picks them up. "You want me to braid your hair?"

"No thanks," I say, and point to my bandage. "Headache."

"Right," she says, and then she picks up my binoculars to peer into other people's apartments.

I lean my forehead against the cold glass. Bennett Tower is shaped so that a whole section of it juts out, which means that we can peek into the windows of people we don't know. We've been doing our Binocular and Braiding Sessions since we were kids, spying on our neighbors, making up stories about them, all the while braiding each other's hair. Of course, it started as a way for us to see if we could see anyone naked (we were ten) — and for sure, we've seen plenty. In fact, we've seen many things over the years: drunken brawls, late-night parties, and, yes, even sex. (It was under the covers, so I didn't really learn anything beyond what I could see on TV, and it was way more tame than anything on the Internet.) But now it's evolved into a bit of a pastime, with Sammie giving them all names and filling in intricate details about their lives. It's just the right distraction.

Sammie lifts her binoculars two stories above us. "The O'Briens are eating pizza again."

"Again?" The O'Briens have four little kids who do nothing but play video games and eat frozen food. "They're so boring."

She scans down a few floors. "The Nut's painting another self-portrait."

"The Nut" is what Mila calls this strange guy who lives a few floors below us in Bennett Tower with his nervous Chihuahua, whose amber eyes and pointy pink ears shake, even if it's ninety-five degrees outside. He spends most nights out on his balcony, painting, usually pictures of himself.

We always see him in the elevator, and he's usually talking to himself. Mila named him the Nut after we got stuck in the elevator with him last year. He spent all eleven floors cracking pistachios, throwing the shells on the floor, twitching and mumbling. It's hard to get an eight-year-old not to stare at adults who are testing the boundaries of appropriate behaviors themselves.

After we left the elevator and he was safely out of distance, Mila started singing this song she had learned at Girl Scouts. "Called myself on the telephone, just to see if I was home. Made a date for half past eight. Better hurry, or I'll be late. I'm a nut, I'm a nut, I'm a nut, nut, nut."

I tried to explain to her that he probably struggles with mental issues, but she wouldn't listen. She sang that annoying song for two days straight, until our dad finally made her stop, saying she had a lovely singing voice but that she really needed to vary her repertoire.

Sammie moves the binoculars left. "Ooh. Mrs. Woodley is doing Pilates on her balcony."

Mrs. Woodley's real name isn't Mrs. Woodley. Sammie made up her name, just as she did the O'Briens' and those of all the other people whose lives we spy on. We don't know Mrs. Woodley's real name, but she's a fifty-something-year-old woman who lives alone in an apartment on the tenth floor. For years, Mrs. Woodley was also a pretty boring character — she mostly just watched TV and ate microwave dinners. But recently she seems to be undergoing a renaissance of sorts — we've caught her belly dancing, cooking full gourmet meals and then eating them alone, and now, doing Pilates on the balcony.

I peek out the window. "She's wearing her new purple leotard."

"And she changed her hair. She looks good as a brunette," Sammie says. "Hey. She's seeing someone."

"How do you know?"

Sammie hands me the binoculars. "Look at the dining room table."

I adjust the focus. "Oh my God. A dozen roses? Who do you think sent them?"

Sammie takes the binoculars from me. "A younger man. Most definitely. His name is Tad. Her personal trainer. He's in his early thirties, is muscular as all hell, and is taken by the fact that he's made her come alive."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras. Copyright © 2016 E. Katherine Kottaras. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
Epigraph,
Part One,
AP Physics Exam: Sample Question,
AP English Language and Composition Exam: Sample Free Response Question,
Habits of an Effective Test Taker #1,
Habits of an Effective Test Taker #2,
Habits of an Effective Test Taker #3,
AP U.S. History Exam: Sample Question,
Part Two,
College Admissions Tip #1,
College Admissions Tip #2,
College Admissions Tip #3,
College Essay Tip,
College Admissions Tip #4,
College Admissions Tip #5,
College Admissions Tip #6,
College Admissions Tip #7,
Part Three,
SAT Math: Sample Question,
Habits of an Effective Test Taker #4,
Habits of an Effective Test Taker #5,
Habits of an Effective Test Taker #6,
Habits of an Effective Test Taker #7,
Part Four,
Mistakes to Avoid Your Senior Year of High School #1,
Mistakes to Avoid Your Senior Year of High School #2,
Mistakes to Avoid Your Senior Year of High School #3,
Mistakes to Avoid Your Senior Year of High School #4,
College Essay Tip,
Acknowledgments,
Also by E. Katherine Kottaras,
About the Author,
Copyright,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Best Possible Answer 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
BooksforKatie More than 1 year ago
What happens when you are an ultra-high achiever and you do something that you are sure will ruin your entire life? What happens when you can't reach the perfection that you have been pushed to be? Well, that is what this book is about, as seen from the view point of high school junior, Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe. First we find out about the panic attacks that stem from some pictures she had sent to an boyfriend were leaked around school. We find out that her dad has not been so perfect and honest with her and her family. Vivi has to learn to trust herself and the people around her. This book was hard for me to believe, but then again, I was never the ultra-high, looking to go to Stanford, type in high school. I did have a friend that went to Yale, but she never really seemed to have to push herself and strive for perfection the way that Vivi did. I, also, never had the family life that Vivi had to deal with, but in talking with some of my friends, it seems like it could very possibly happen. Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for giving me the digital ARC of this book, in order to give an honest opinion.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
3.5 liked it a lot I wanted to read The Best Possible Answer because I liked the sound of Vivi. I am drawn to books about anxiety, young people making mistakes and how they learn from them, and the complicated family dynamics that it hints at. Vivi is it dealing with panic attacks at the beginning of the book and her mom has finally realize how much stress she's only trying to do so much and be so much as an honor student and although she is trying to encourage her to slow down part of the problem is that she won't admit what else is going on with Vivi. We know from the synopsis that her boyfriend had leaked some pictures of her and it really affected her in a lot of ways and her mom just wants to look at the school aspect of it and tell her to calm down instead of trying to face the emotional pain that she's facing with that. As far as family dynamics that's pretty complicated as well. Her dad is not living with them and not on good terms with her mom even though her mom just dealt with thyroid cancer and well things are looking okay she's still got a lot of uncertainties. Vivi has a younger sister who looks up to her a lot and wants to be closer. When her mom takes away the normal academic summer camp that she usually goes to that one chance to and it also brings her new friends into the picture. Vivi's father is a story unto himself. He has a lot of secrets, and he has hurt those around him in a lot of ways. Vivi figures out some of the things that he was hiding, and it only adds to her confusion and identity issues. I liked the friendship aspect in this one as well. Vivi and her best friend Sammie live in the same building and they have been friends for years. They've always been close, but their own family issues that left them hurting have allowed them to bond even more and know that someone else understands. I do wish that the whole aspect of both of them liking the same guy wouldn't have been there, but it did allow for a lot of character growth and for them to look at their relationship and how to work on it. I liked the story line, how Vivi realized a lot about herself, her life, her plans for the future, and how she interacts with others. She wasn't in the best place at the beginning but she certainly learned a lot and while the main story lines were tied up, she still had a lot of room to grow, make choices, and move on with both old and new friends. Source: earc from Netgalley via St. Martin's Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not affected by the book being free. Bottom Line: Good read, had decent emotional connection, and complex family dynamics.
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
viviana rabinovich-lowe is in trouble. everything in her life has fallen apart and it doesn't seem like there will be a way to put it together, at least not the way it was. the only way forward for vivi will be to accept that everything she planned for has been changed, but that those changes don't mean that she has lost control of her life. it just means that she needs to forge a new way forward. the best possible answer lets us see how vivi finds her way, how she regains her strength and how she comes to terms with her past. she learns that it doesn't need to define her. vivi is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff, her ex betrayed her trust and shared a sext that should have remained private. her parents marriage has been under severe strain and there are secrets her parents have been keeping that alter her sense of self to the most basic level. when the people closest to you have proven themselves untrustworthy how do you let people in again? the only two people in vivi's life that have been there for her are her best friend, sammie, and her baby sister, mila. but vivi needs to share her burdens. the pressure of holding everything in is causing severe panic attacks. and there's evan, a boy she has a history with, who wants to get closer to her, and who she is too afraid to trust. learning to let go, stopping to breathe, letting people in, that's what vivi's journey in this book is about. and it's beautifully told. i can't even imagine dealing with some of the things that vivi faces, and the triumph is that she comes through it at the other side. how the people around her help her, that's the story. one very much worth reading, so i'm not going to say anymore. **the best possible answer will publish on november 1, 2016. i received an advanced reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.
Arys More than 1 year ago
The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras is an emotionally charged coming-of age story of a young woman struggling with the aftermath of one mistake, while also dealing with her father leaving unexpectedly soon after. With the help of her best friend, a new summer job, and the reappearance of a boy she once knew, she learns that it is okay to make mistakes and not be perfect all the time. That she can love herself and those around her just the way they are. "We’re asymmetrical beings seeking a perfect kind of symmetry that can never be attained.They showed us cracked vases as examples of the beauty of ordinary objects. No design is perfect, they said, but we still can’t help but try." Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has everything planned out: taking her AP exams, studying for the SAT, going to the Design and Engineering Academy during the summer, and applying to Stanford. However, one unforeseen mistake, throws her plans completely out the window. When the stress of her mistake and the worry of further failure causes her to begin having episodes of anxiety attacks, Vivi's parents decide it would be best for her to rest for the summer. So instead of going to camp, she ends up working at her apartment building's community pool with her best friend Sammie. An opportunity to be around people who don't know anything about her humiliation or her anxiety. She can just be her. However, even a summer job at the pool has it's own dramas. The Best Possible Answer is very character-driven. Viviana is an emotional character, impulsive, and at times makes things more complicated than they need to be, but she is also relatable and real in her desire to please her parents and need to not be seen as a failure. I enjoyed reading about Viviana's relationships with her friend Sammie, her sister Mila, her mother, her father, and Evan, the boy both Sammie and her are crushing on. The author conveys how strongly Vivi feels for each person, which made reading the novel easy to fall into. However, in regards to the conflicts within the novel (some unnecessary, especially in regards to Sammie and Evan) there seemed to be a little too many. I would have enjoyed more time spent delving deeper into some of the storylines or characters. For example, Vivi herself and Vivi's mother. Overall, The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras is a well-written novel, with relatable characters and a clear strong message that is encouraging to readers: Doing your best and being happy with who you are, no matter the mistakes, is what is important. Not perfection. As Vivi's mother told her, “You are so very young. Your life has only just begun. Don’t let your mistakes define you.” Excellent advice. I happily recommend this book. (I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book I received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review)
onemused More than 1 year ago
"The Best Possible Answer" takes place during the summer between Viviana (Vivi)'s junior and senior years of high school, when her life undergoes a huge overhaul. The book begins when Vivi is on the way home after bombing her AP exams and crashes her bike. She is stressed from being unable to please her father with her academic work, the fact that he has left (for which she blames her failures), and a lingering photograph of her that she had sent her cheating ex-boyfriend Dean privately. After the accident, doctors advise that she slow down and take it easy. However, Vivi has a plan for her life and education- she wants to go to Stanford like her father- and so she has to work hard and make sure things get done. After the doctor's advice and her parents' repeal of the summer engineering camp she was planning to attend, Vivi takes an easy summer job with her best friend, Sammie, to check people in at the pool for their apartment complex. The summer doesn't go as easily as she expects when she meets a boy, Evan, who coincidentally had been her first kiss 4 years before. Sammie is interested in Evan, but he seems more interested in Vivi- this threatens to tear the BFFs apart. Vivi isn't sure she's ready to trust anyone again after Dean- and besides, she needs to buckle down and prep for college applications. The book is not really about Vivi and Evan's relationship (or lack thereof). In fact, the winning relationship here is the BFF connection between Sammie and Vivi- their friendship is incredibly close and strong. They help each other through the many events that threaten to break each girl apart. Vivi has a lot to deal with and a lot about herself and her family to come to terms with- everything is not as it seems. I admire the way her mother handles the situations that arise. Vivi has a strong fight-or-flight response to tough situations and this arises throughout, as well as shows the impacts on her family and especially her little sister Mila. I won't say much more so as not to include spoilers. Vivi really grows into her own throughout the book and learns about what she wants and what she values. These kinds of realizations don't come easy. This is a book which deals with some pretty heavy issues for Vivi and for her family. It's well written and reads pretty quickly but is by no means easy. There are some big issues addressed in the book, even with other characters (such as Evan and Professor Cox). It's a good read and a quality lesson in how to figure out what you want and how to move on from big obstacles. Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars I really liked the premise of this and was quite eager to get to it. I liked Vivi well enough. She's smart and is dealing with a lot of personal things. I enjoyed being in her head and reading her figure things out. Sammie and Evan were interesting characters, and I absolutely loved Vivi's little sister, Mila. The idea of a slice of time usually irritates me, but it really works with this story. And man, there are a lot of things that happen. Some of it is good, some of it is bad, some of it is ridiculously dramatic. Overall, it was a quick and mostly cute read. I'll definitely keep a look out for future works by this author. **Huge thanks to St. Martin's Griffin and NetGalley for providing the arc free of charge**