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AN Off Year Hardcover – September 3, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"For students and families tangled in the complex and often stressful process of transitioning from high school to college, Zulkey's novel provides comfort and advice, with a healthy dose of humor." -Elizabeth McArdle, College Advising Dean

Review

"For students and families tangled in the complex and often stressful process of transitioning from high school to college, Zulkey's novel provides comfort and advice, with a healthy dose of humor." -Elizabeth McArdle, College Advising Dean --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525421599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525421597
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,536,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mint910 VINE VOICE on September 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I knew right away when I read the blurb for this book it was made for me. And I was so happy that once I was done reading it that it provided exactly what I was looking for. For me the story was very realistic and relatable. I sort of unknowingly took a year off after I graduated from college and literally did nothing (I watched so many repeats of Scrubs they actual started repeating back to ones I had seen that same year!). I know that some people might have problems reading a story about a girl that really doesn't do anything for a year but for me it was so honest and real. It really made me think back on that time in my life.

I feel like this book could help a lot of people that are thinking about college or what's next for them in their life. Cecily takes the time to think whereas most of us just go onto college and do it because we think that's what we are supposed to do. Whereas for some reason Cecily stops herself and decides she's not ready. I think the characters in the book from Cecily's therapist to her career counselor to her friends all help make the point that most of us don't know what we are doing and are faking it until we make it. Just knowing that I think can make it easier for people.

I really liked the range of secondary characters in the book from Cecily's older sister who is just finding a job after college and trying to avoid Cecily to her father that feels helpless but wants to help her, to her brother and his girlfriend and Cecily's friends she feels like she's growing apart from. The all helped Cecily understand something about herself and helped her grow.

Because of my personal connection to this book, for me it was something special. I hope others can recognize themselves or someone they know in this book as well and get something out of it.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not really the young-adult demographic anymore, being more than a couple of years post-college. But good writing is good writing, and this is some good writing.

Before I read the book, I actually wondered if I would find Cecily annoying. "Wah, wah. You don't want to go to college. Poor baby." Instead I quickly found someone who I recognized from when I was that age, except Cecily has the courage to actually say, "Wait a minute! I don't really know what's going on here!" instead of just going with the flow and doing "what people do" after they graduate from high school. Zulkey's use of the other people in Cecily's life to illuminate the normalcy of that unease felt authentic, not contrived. All of the characters are so well-developed that I found myself able to like something about each of them, even the ones who are frequent sources of Cecily's frustration. There are no "throw-away" characters in this novel. The author's attention to detail and careful crafting of Cecily's trajectory through this year makes every moment count.

I loved this story. I loved the honesty with which Zulkey allowed her characters to discuss the college experience, and I especially loved the sense of humor that was present throughout. I'm planning on sending it to some important people in my life who are right around Cecily's age, and if my friends closer to my age are lucky, I'll share it with them, too!
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Format: Hardcover
As someone who is taking a year off herself, to figure out what she wants to do and how she's going to get there, this book resonated with me. It's scary to not conform with what everyone else is doing. To feel a little left behind. To feel like you're completely insane. But at the same time- everyone feels that way. Zulkey explores the topic in a very human way, being really sympathetic to her character but also making no effort to hide her flaws. Cecily is a fun girl, but she's spoiled. She's not ok with things changing. She's worried about the unknown. She doesn't do anything earth-shattering in her year off- she doesn't travel or start a non-profit or write a novel. She just needs time to figure herself out. Come to terms with the changes going on in her life. Get to know her family and maybe let go of a few friends.

I think the book was very realistic in that not everything was tied up neatly at the end- we don't really ever get to know Cecily's mother, we don't see how her relationship with her sister evolves, and we don't get to see if she actually does well in college. But that is true to life. Cecily's best friend from high school warps into a complete stranger in college- who among us doesn't know how that feels? She's a really easy character to cheer for and enjoy. She's quirky, with a dry sense of humor and a lot of heart.

It was light and fun and hilarious, but also hit the spot in terms of getting its point across. A lot of kids who apply to college would like reading it; maybe it's better to read it after they start college, so they'll understand it better. It's also good for anyone who sometimes looks in the mirror and thinks, "What in the world am I doing with my life?
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Format: Hardcover
I started my freshman year of college 15 years ago. You might think I had no business reading this book. You'd be wrong. I found myself connecting with so many of the characters, that I am secretly hoping for a sequel. Cecily was more likable than I expected and her Father was not a push-over, spoil the child, kind of Dad. Zulkey captures the emotions, and writes with such honesty, that the reader is pulled in from the very first page. This is an excellent book!
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