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Althea and Oliverby Cristina Moracho
Synopses & Reviews
What if you live for the moment when life goes off the rails — and then one day there's no one left to help you get it back on track?
Althea Carter and Oliver McKinley have been best friends since they were six; she's the fist-fighting instigator to his peacemaker, the artist whose vision balances his scientific bent. Now, as their junior year of high school comes to a close, Althea has begun to want something more than just best-friendship. Oliver, for his part, simply wants life to go back to normal, but when he wakes up one morning with no memory of the past three weeks, he can't deny any longer that something is seriously wrong with him. And then Althea makes the worst bad decision ever, and her relationship with Oliver is shattered. He leaves town for a clinical study in New York, resolving to repair whatever is broken in his brain, while she gets into her battered Camry and drives up the coast after him, determined to make up for what she's done.
Their journey will take them from the rooftops, keg parties, and all-ages shows of their North Carolina hometown to the pool halls, punk houses, and hospitals of New York City before they once more stand together and face their chances. Set in the DIY, mix tape, and zine culture of the mid-1990s, Cristina Moracho's whip-smart debut is an achingly real story about identity, illness, and love — and why bad decisions sometimes feel so good.
"Debut author Moracho takes a familiar setup — best friends with incompatible feelings — and examines it thoroughly and deeply. Althea and Oliver have been inseparable since they were kids. As they mature, Althea yearns for something more from their relationship while Oliver wants everything 'to be normal.' Complicating matters, Oliver suffers from an onset of Kleine-Levin syndrome, a rare illness characterized by extreme periods of sleep, memory lapses, and erratic behavior. During one of Oliver's episodes, he and Althea have sex, drawing a wedge in their friendship and causing her to act out violently. In what reads like a marked departure from the first half of the book, which is set in smalltown North Carolina, latter sections find Oliver in New York City, enrolled in a sleep study. Meanwhile, Althea attempts to track Oliver down but finds new friends and a stronger, more independent version of herself. Throughout the book, Oliver's reserve is an effective counterpoint to Althea's reckless responses to the teens' respective predicaments. Moracho wisely resists a storybook ending for these two, concluding with what seems like the next logical step in their lives. Ages 14 — up. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
This is Cristina Moracho's first novel. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and tweets at @cherielecrivain.
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