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Althea & Oliver Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Moracho, Cristina

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ISBN: 0142424765     ISBN-13: 9780142424766
Publisher: Speak
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: March 2016

Annotation: A best friendship between Althea and Oliver is challenged by their developing feelings for each other and Oliver's rare health affliction, which causes him to sleep for weeks at a time and engage in uncharacteristic behaviors he cannot remember afterwards. A first novel. Simultaneous eBook.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Best friends; Fiction.
Friendship; Fiction.
Coming of age; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2016009226
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.50" W x 1.25" (0.74 lbs) 364 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q64417
Reading Level: 7.4   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 23.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Spring)
Prickly teenager Althea's more passive best friend Oliver develops a sleeping disorder. While she desires a romantic relationship with him, Oliver just wants everything to return to normal. This culturally rich novel set in mid-1990s North Carolina and New York City explores the duo's complex coming-of-age--full of bad decisions and secrets--and the undoing of their friendship. An ambitious, noteworthy, well-written debut.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2014 September #1)

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.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 June)

Gr 9 Up—This richly satisfying debut defies simple description. On its surface, it is about teenage best friends, a boy and a girl, who have complicated and messy feelings. Friends since they were six, the teens have grown up doors apart, both in single-parent families in Wilmington, North Carolina. What sets this novel apart is the way the youth are allowed to speak for themselves in all their chaotic, exciting complexity. Althea, who has anger issues, is in love with Oliver, which would be complicated enough even if Oliver didn't seem to be a modern-day Rip Van Winkle, falling into a strange, deep sleep at random moments and not waking up for weeks or months. Oliver's mom, Nicky, finds a doctor in her home city of New York who is conducting a study of this disorder, called Kleine-Levin Syndrome, and Oliver grudgingly agrees to participate. While he navigates the strange world of a hospital ward filled with other teenage boys with KLS, Althea tells her dad that she's taking a road trip to visit her mom in New Mexico, but then heads to New York City to find Oliver. Instead, she falls in with a collective house of crusty punks in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, who are perfectly described with deep familiarity instead of exotic detachment. Oliver's medical condition functions as both an interesting narrative quirk and a deeper metaphor, and the resolution is satisfyingly uncertain. The novel is set in the mid-1990s, which is vividly re-created with plenty of drinking, sex, and rock and roll, but it is the exquisitely created and painfully real, pitch-perfect characters who make it so memorable.—Kyle Lukoff, Corlears School, New York City

[Page 126]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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