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Ferocity Summer Paperback – May 8, 2012
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"This book is definitely for the oldest of the teen audience with intense language and sexuality, and adult readers will devour it as well ... Recommended." --VOYA
"An engaging, realistic journey into drug addiction and bad decision making. Grosso's Ferocity Summer is a riveting read." --A.S. King, author of the Printz honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz
-This book is definitely for the oldest of the teen audience with intense language and sexuality, and adult readers will devour it as well ... Recommended.- --VOYA
-An engaging, realistic journey into drug addiction and bad decision making. Grosso's Ferocity Summer is a riveting read.- --A.S. King, author of the Printz honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz
About the Author
A former children's librarian and newspaper editor, Alissa Grosso is the author of the young adult novels Popular and Ferocity Summer. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and currently works as a sales consultant for a book distributor. Grosso grew up in New Jersey, where she graduated from Lenape Valley Regional High School, and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Rutgers University. She now lives in the Philadelphia area.
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Top customer reviews
And she's outspoken. This is what seems to throw some readers. As far as I'm concerned, if she's going to think critically of her friends, if she's going to entertain taboo thoughts, let her say so. The author took risks and I admire her for it. The key is making the reader like or sympathize with the protagonist. There's at least a little bit of Scilla in all of us.
The Author makes good points about conflicting pressures on teens, for example "the girl in the ugly green sweater" in educational films who is intended to deter teens from drugs, and instead is depicted (initially at least) as elevating her social status by turning to drugs. Another nice touch is interspersing tidbits about Tecumseh Sherman. Also, an entire novel could be built around the character Pablo.
Scilla is a very hard character to like. She is not a nice person, constantly blaming everyone and everything but herself for her problems, all while claiming that she doesn't blame anyone for how her life has turned out. Her lack of ambition, in any sense of the word, meant much of the plot revolved around Scilla following or waiting on her best friend Willow. Scilla was never an active player in any plot twist - she was always approached by others and it was consistently their decisions which directed her choices. It made for a stagnant read because when the active players were missing, you're stuck watching Scilla sitting around waiting for them to return. Her thoughts ran unbridled, and some of them were a little disturbing.
"Secretly, I fantasized about having an older brother and having wild, sordid, forbidden sex with him."
Ummm....ok? I just...how am I supposed to relate to a character with thoughts like that? Her bisexuality was a non-issue, and was handled surprisingly well in that it wasn't really given much attention. Unfortunately the constant slut-shaming that she projected onto her "friend" and love interest, Andrea, was another blow to my already low opinion of her personality.
Knowing that this was going to be a book about dysfunctional, imperfect teenagers, I wasn't expecting to really like any of them - I was fully expecting to be cringing with most of their decisions. But I was hoping to see enough character growth and development, that come the ending, I would feel passionately about at least the heroine. Which is why even though Scilla's growth is exponential, I still don't like her. Her growth is unconvincing, as she stills seems to hold on to her misguided opinions. She repeats herself several times throughout the book, stating that if Randy wasn't dealing drugs, it would just be someone else. So what he's doing isn't really wrong, because drug addicts choose to buy drugs from him; if not him, they'd find someone else. It made it hard for me to believe in her personal growth, or to hold on to any kind of sympathy for her. I was also hoping for some kind of reparation between Scilla and her mother, as their relationship seemed tenuous at best, but other then some extremely harsh words (used by both sides) their relationship wasn't really explored or explained.
I didn't like the inclusion of Scilla's report on William T. Sherman, as it interrupted the flow of the story. When it was first introduced, being quite ignorant of American Civil War history, I had no idea who he was or why Scilla was referencing his pursuits as a soldier. Perhaps it was just my copy, but I could have done with a page break, or font change, to distinguish when she was going off on one of her Sherman tangents.
The leaking of information about the trial and the incident which led up to the trial was the only reason I finished Ferocity Summer. It took until the epilogue to show the outcome of the trial, and I was disappointed with the small role it ended up having. With the involvement of the FBI being quite minimal, and Scilla's betrayal resulting in very little consequence, I was quite disappointed with the ending in general. But considering Scilla's passive role in every other aspect of Ferocity Summer's plot, I shouldn't have been surprised with her story's apathetic conclusion.
I read Grosso's previous work "Popular" and enjoyed it tremendously. I find this to be a superior work and what it lacks in blindsiding plot twists it more than makes up for in humor; I laughed quite a bit for "A realistic journey into drug addiction and bad decision making...(-A.S. King)."
All in all, this made for a great summer read. I would rather have read this from a deck chair with an interesting view while on vacation, but reading a handful of chapters at a time offered a welcome escape from the day to day and allowed me to virtually slip away into some questionable behavior while reflecting from a "there but for the grace of God, go I" perspective.
I do enjoy Alissa's engaging writing style and now look forward to wading into "Shallow Pond."