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Publisher's Note:  

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.



Althea & Oliver

by Cristina Moracho

Review Date:
03/06/2015

Recommended Age:
21+

Overall Rating:
***

Profanity / Language Rating:
**********

Violence / Gore Rating:
**

Sex / Nudity Rating:
*********

Overall Review:  

I was first drawn to this book by the cover. The black and yellow just popped out at me. From reading the synopsis I felt this book might be similar to The Fault in Our Stars, or If I Stay. Boy, was I wrong. This book is one that parents and teens alike will want to approach cautiously. I can usually stomach a lot of language and sex in books, but as a reviewer, I have become more aware of what I am really reading. This book isn't just a story of a boy and a girl who go from best friends to "friends with benefits", it's much more. It deals with first loves, having a sick friend, going to parties and drugs...it is quite the wild ride.

 

I'm not sure if I have ever read a book that was in the actual "new adult" category. I don't know that I want to, but I fear I might have just read one by mistake. Althea & Oliver is a book that depicts characters and situations that I don't think most teens would encounter until their college years. Althea is a rambunctious girl who just wants to feel loved, and when she doesn't find a boyfriend out there begging for her heart, she turns to the obvious choice: her best friend, Oliver. A match made in heaven, right? Well, maybe not. Because often, being more than "just friends" complicates things, and although Althea and Oliver remain friends, all of a sudden they aren't sure how to deal with some new feelings they are having. Add in Oliver wanting to sleep all day and missing out on whole months of time because of it, and you have a disaster waiting to happen.

 

For the first part of this book I was a little confused. Oliver is mentioned to sleep a lot and always be tired, but I didn't know why. It isn't until later that a reader gets the whole story; I felt like I figured things out about the characters in this book a step or two behind them, not with them. That was okay, but it made for a few confusing moments. All in all, this book was entertaining, but I felt like I was reading a book geared for a much older age group. An adult could read this book and be horrified by the content. So do your research, be aware, and read at your own peril!


Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  6 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities; 2 religious profanities; 4 derogatory names; 27 scatological words; 7 anatomical terms; 52 F-Word derivatives.

 

Violence/Gore:  Dogs are mentioned to be drowned and killed in inhumane ways in a thoretical situation; a parent is mentioned to have died in an accident; a story is told and decapitated bodies are mentioned; worshiping Satan is mentioned; a haunted building is depicted in one brief scene; a girl and a boy intentionally burn their arms with lit cigarettes; a character's car gets keyed in an act of vengeance; a girl punches a boy several times.

 

Sex/Nudity:  A girl mentions her desire to be kissed by a boy; a boy is described to be pant-less in front of his friend who is a girl (non-sexual); girls are briefly described to swim in their underwear at a party; parts of a woman's breast are mentioned to be visible through her sweater; a lap dance is referred to among minors; teens are asked if they are "hooking up"; a minor boy touches a minor girl's breast, cheek, and arm in a sexual way; a rape is referred to in one very brief conversation; a character refers to "getting laid"; a brief scene involving a boy and a girl kissing and a boy touching a girls' breast is depicted; a boy is mentioned to go swimming shirtless; a girl envisions what it would be like to have sex and lose her virginity; minors argue about a sexual encounter and whether they had sex or not; a minor girl and boy undress each other, kiss; STD's are mentioned among teens in a joking way; a minor boy "goes to bed" with a girl; a minor boy and girl have sex in one brief scene with some nudity and brief explicit detail; minors are mentioned to kiss multiple times.



Mature Subject Matter:  

Terminal illness, death of a parent, underage drinking, sexual activity, teen partying, paranormal.



Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Drug use is mentioned among teens; acid use mentioned; minors drink frequently (vodka, tequila, beer, wine); minors smoke cigarettes.



Reviewed By Lydia
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