From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Harper, an overconfident high school grad who has only applied to one college, is (surprise, surprise) rejected. To make matters worse, she lies to her three best friends, convincing them that she has chosen to postpone college to live in her parents' basement in Boulder, CO, and follow her dreams by drafting the Great American Novel. Adding to her guilt, she inspires two of the other three to also ditch their college plans to follow their dreams. The story bounces back and forth among the four girls and their adventures as an actual college freshman, an aspiring author, an aspiring Hollywood actress, and a backpacking European tourist. Heavy on adjectives, the book drags a bit at the outset, but the pace quickens as each young woman develops a romantic interest, and the multiple story threads help maintain readers' interest. Although it lacks the novelty of a magical pair of jeans connecting the narratives, this novel might be another good choice for readers who have exhausted Ann Brashares's Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (Delacorte).–Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
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Gr. 8-11. After high-school senior Harper is rejected from NYU, the only school to which she applied, she is too ashamed to tell her friends and family. Instead, she announces that she
rejected NYU, choosing instead to stay at home in Boulder, Colorado, to pursue her dream of writing. Her decision sparks an unexpected, explosive reaction in her three best friends, who decide to join the "Dream Train," too: Sophie heads to Hollywood to act; Becca flies to Middlebury College, where she will ski for a top coach; and Kate defers her Harvard admission (and the expectations of her high-achieving parents) to travel through Europe and discover herself. Alternating chapters follow the girls throughout their first months of independence, heartbreaks, upsetting setbacks, romance, sex (not explicitly detailed), and thrilling self-discovery. There are some far-fetched scenarios (Sophie dates an A-list Hollywood star) and some stereotypical characters (particularly Kate's parents), but many teens, particularly fans of Jodi Lynn Anderson's Peaches
(2005), will delight vicariously in the brave journeys and fierce friendships. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved