Juniors PDF

by Kaui Hart Hemmings Warning: I read an Advance Reader’s Copy

What I Knew Going In: Hemmings wrote The Descendants. Which became that movie with George Clooney. And Tris, from Divergent.

What You Should Know: Lea Lane moved to Hawaii midway through her Junior year and started attended the best school in the country. Her mom’s an actress. Her dad isn’t in the picture. And she’s just trying to fit in, but Hawaii's a unique culture, even if you've visited their your whole life, and Punahou school is filled with kids who've known each other since they were give. It's hard. Then her mom moves into the guest house of her old friend and his wife, the richest people on the island, who happen to have two beautiful children who are the same age as Lea. Lea proceeds to befriend the daughter and fall stupidly for the brother while her hot, hot, awesome best friend watches, rejected. It’s sad.

Best Thing: this is an absolutely true telling of the troubles and awkwardness of being a teenager, set in the backdrop of the most gorgeous place in the country. It's the story of an outsider looking in on a world she doesn't understand, and finding the places where she belongs. It's also about my high school. I am bias.

Worst Thing: Hemmings is real into realism. This is not a typical YA fairytale. The main character is awkward and uncomfortable and painfully, achingly lonely.

Favorite Quote:
In Hawaii we all give ourselves so much credit for being a melting pot, but I don’t think we melt—we just pick from one another’s cultures, then carry out the things we like best.


Moment I Felt the Most Emotion: every scene with Danny, the local local.

OVERALL: I really liked this story, but I don’t know how much of that was because it was my high school. And I don’t know how much my displeasure stemmed from the story not resonating with what was in my head, you know? Like, “We did have a lily pond in the middle of campus.” But, “We did not have French! Rich people weren’t rich for reasons, they just were.”

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