By Will Weaver
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374324858, 240pp.
Publication Date: September 15, 2005
The times they are a-changin' . . . The summer that Paul turns sixteen his mother pushes him to take a job in town instead of just working on the family farm. “You need to meet the public,” she says, which is saying a lot for a woman deeply committed to the tightly knit religious community to which they belong. And meet the public Paul does: He meets Kirk, the angry gas station manager; Harry, a reclusive and kindly gangster; and a family of hippies passing in a yellow peace van to San Francisco. He also meets beautiful Peggy, a high school sensation, and dark-haired Dale, her onthe-
side boyfriend who is headed to Vietnam. All of them come to the station – as well as girls on summer vacation, tanned and smelling of coconut oil, and ministers from Paul’s fundamentalist church, who are worried about his soul. As the summer progresses, Paul learns the secrets of his small Minnesota town and discovers that he’s ready to have a few secrets of his own.
With richly developed characters and a flair for arresting imagery, Will Weaver tells the story of the end of one boy’s innocence, unfolding at a time when the country as a whole is undergoing a difficult, deeply disturbing coming-of-age.
"Weaver's ability to recreate scenes from the past with accurate detail and the immediacy of a teen point of view ...[is] pitch perfect. Superb." -- Starred, Kirkus Reviews "While Paul learns and grows through the summer, the lessons never feel portentous, and Weaver evokes the rural setting with much exactness and no nostalgia." -- Starred, The Horn Book
"Weaver is a wonderful stylist and his beautifully chosen words put such a shine on his deeply felt story that most teens will be able to find their own faces reflected in its pages." -- Booklist
"Descriptively written narrative." -- VOYA "A cast of carefully shaped, diverse characters. The warm, affirming denouement suggests that life's highway is endlessly fascinating, frequently challenging, and bound to include some unanticipated bumps and detours." -- School Library Journal "The author crafts gem-like vignettes . . .Paul's quiet rebellion, fueled by a variety of profound encounters, expresses universal truths about growing pains, teen desires, and new insights he has gained." --Publishers Weekly "This book is just so down to earth and real." --A YALSA Teen YA Galley Reader