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AN Off Year Hardcover – September 3, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this in one day. Enjoyed it from start to finish. Zulkey created a true person in the protagonist Cecily -- a protagonist I frequently wanted to throttle, to be sure --... Read morePublished on April 24, 2013 by C. M. Sienko
We bought it for the 17-year-old daughter of a friend, and she totally enjoyed it. Well written and fun for those who aren't even remotely close to being teenagers any longer. Read morePublished on January 9, 2013 by Stan Delahoyde
the book was a little lame, but readable until I got the the statement that the main character's father wanted her to choose a school that "didn't cost and arm and a leg". Hello! Read morePublished on January 21, 2010 by omnivorous Reader 42
Cecily Powell is very spoiled. She backs out of college right after receiving her dorm keys, and her father is all right with that. Read morePublished on September 25, 2009 by Ann Logue
With Cecily, Zulkey does an excellent job of capturing the awe, aimlessness, fears, and social anxiety of being a teenager. Read morePublished on September 16, 2009 by Rachel Kramer Bussel
"An Off Year" truly captures the frame of mind we all experienced between high school and college, no matter how long it took to decide what to do with one's life. Read morePublished on September 11, 2009 by Chi Gal