Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Aspen Paperback – March 3, 2014
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor sees dead people, or more precisely, the one dead person who haunts her every waking moment, which is pretty much 24/7 since she can no longer sleep without reliving a terrible car accident. One month before the start of senior year, a head-on collision kills the beautiful and popular Katelyn, and leaves Aspen with a permanent facial scar and a broken leg. The police investigation determines that Katelyn was the driver at fault, but Aspen suspects that she may have been to blame and is actively suppressing the memory to avoid facing that possibility. Once school starts, however, the teen discovers that her senior year will be defined by the accident. Formerly a self-proclaimed outcast, she is now sought out by Katelyn's best friend and other classmates who had previously seemed barely aware of her existence. Her newfound and discomforting notoriety even get her elected as homecoming queen. Further complicating her life are her role-reversed relationship with her pot-smoking mother and the growing feelings she shares with Katelyn's former boyfriend. Aspen's determined avoidance of subconscious guilt, in the form of Katelyn's finger-pointing ghost, put her on a roller-coaster ride toward the brink of physical and emotional collapse. Crane provides a generous helping of dry, often dark, humor to relieve the mounting tension. Colored by its backdrop of present-day Boulder, Colorado with its legal marijuana and retro hippie culture, this is a tight, impeccably paced story with well-defined characters and intriguing relationships that will resonate with older teens.—Cary Frostick, formerly at Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle Edition for FREE. Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I am a super critical reader/reviewer. I usually call out any annoyance I encounter in my reviews regardless of how minuscule it is. It goes without saying that I don't give out many 5 star ratings. As a general rule, any books that I give 5 star ratings to must meet 2 of the 3 following criteria:
1. Go on my favorites shelf. check
2. Make me feel the need to purchase a physical copy (I read on Kindle 98% of the time.) check
3. I know I'm going to re-read the book. check
That being said: I don't have anything bad to say about Aspen. I know... That's really shocking coming from me, but Aspen is phenomenal.
The best thing about this book is the overall message that it's okay to be yourself. All of the main characters in this book are apologetically true to themselves. Great example: Ninny.
"Ninny" is what Aspen calls her mother. Ninny was very young and didn't even know she was pregnant when Aspen was born. Her parents immediately disowned her and she has raised Aspen on her own ever since. Ninny is not what you would consider a traditional parental figure. She smokes a lot of weed, sleeps around, can't hold down a job, doesn't clean up after herself, encourages Aspen to have sex, and is just generally irresponsible. BUT Ninny is not painted as a villain in this novel. Aspen and her friends adore her anyway because she's a good person and she loves them.
I thought this was so unique. A lot novels use the "terrible parent" trope as an excuse to bring their characters conflict and create angst. It's lazy. My least favorite is the rich, works too much, and doesn't give a crap that his daughter is different dad. Awful. Ninny is a crappy mom, but she's a a wonderful, if strange, person. For example:
"My mom taught me how to braid. We used to practice on my dolls. She would say every respectable girl knows how to braid."
"You never taught me."
"I couldn't care less if you're respectable." Ninny ties a rubber band around the end of one braid. "I care that you're you."
Ninny and her relationships with the other characters is truly my favorite thing about this novel. I love the way the author made it okay for Ninny to be different. She made it okay for Aspen to unconditionally love (and like) her mother even if she didn't act like a mother most of the time.
The rest of the book was lovely too. It's never made clear whether or not Aspen is actually beautiful or if Ninny just thinks she is because she's her mother. But it is made clear that Aspen has out of control blonde hair, she wears bell bottoms, tie dye, and Birkenstocks, and usually has charcoal smeared on her face. I thought this was nice. Aspen is unequivocally herself and she still has great friendships and a love interest despite walking to the beat of her own drum. The author didn't paint her as the beautiful girl who wears black and too much makeup in order to hide her beauty because she's soooooooo different and superior. Gag.
I don't want to get too far into the accident and resulting events part of the book, but I will say that this is very well done. Aspen's reactions to them and the events that tale place afterwards struck me as very realistic.
Overall, this book was wonderful and I very much recommend that you read it. Now.
Oh, the feels with this book! It’s no secret that I loved Rebekah Crane’s first novel, PLAYING NICE, and Rebekah has done it again with ASPEN. She’s artfully created a high school world where everything is uncertain and nobody knows quite what comes next.
You will fall in love with these characters! Aspen is one of my favorite young adult protagonists ever, with her crazy hair and her quirky sense of humor. She’s just the right amount of sarcastic and unsure as she fights her own demons and struggles to make sense of a new high school reality. Add in her two best friends, Kim and Cass, who are constantly teasing even though they harbor great affection for one another and you’ve got a cast of unforgettable characters.
I loved Ben as Aspen’s love interest! First love is never easy, and add in the fact that one of the players was involved in an accident that killed the other player’s girlfriend and the stakes just got a whole lot higher. I loved the uncertainty of Aspen and Ben’s feelings for one another and how they navigate the minefield of social scrutiny as they become closer.
As much as ASPEN is about first love and the incredible bonds of friendship, it’s also about family. Aspen’s mother Ninny plays a huge role in the book and couldn’t be a more endearing character. She’s flawed and silly, sometimes acting like the child while Aspen is the parent, but the joy of their relationship is how the two learn together. I dare you not to shed tears during mother-daughter moments between Ninny and Aspen, but only after you’ve laughed out loud at their crazy conversations.
From a technical standpoint, you won’t read better dialogue in young adult literature than from Rebekah Crane. Every time a character speaks you’re whisked away into a whirlwind of humor and wit that jumps right off the page. You will forget you’re reading and simply hear these characters speaking in your mind.
ASPEN is equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and heart wrenching and will bring you full circle in the experience.
I can't really say a lot about the book without giving things away, but suffice it to say that Aspen is a regular kid who blends into the background of high school until she is suddenly thrust into the forefront, quite literally by accident. She has a hilarious supporting cast of characters: A pot-smoking, free-loving hippie mom and two besties: Kim who throws the f-bomb around like confetti and Cass who is as obsessed with sex as any teen-aged boy who's never had any can be.
The book eloquently portrays how trauma can affect our perception of events and how the secrets we keep can compound that trauma. And how sharing our truths can heal and strengthen relationships.