288p. Sky Pony Pr. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781510723610.
Gr 10 Up—Erin Cerise is the product of a hyper-competitive, upper middle-class community. She is an outstanding cellist, captain of the swim team, and has excellent grades. She is on a path to the Ivy Leagues when a disastrous birthday week threatens her future. In a bid to redeem her chances of admittance to Columbia, her parents have decided that a foreign study program will be the unique experience she needs to put her back on the radar of college admissions officers. Which is how Erin finds herself on the other side of the world in Christchurch, New Zealand. When she arrives, Erin is put off by the modest lifestyle of her host family and the general slow pace. However, it is out of the pressure cooker of her suburban American life that Erin is able to rediscover who she is, and what she really wants out of life and love. Bacon has created an engrossing story that is incredibly relevant to teens. While displaying a mastery over writing the teenage voice, Bacon also shows that she can adeptly wield imagery to transport readers to the mountainous landscapes and sprawling coastlines of the South Island of New Zealand. Due to some mature themes and sexual content, this is recommended for older teens.
VERDICT An excellent coming-of-age story for those who enjoy An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, More than We Can Tell by Brigid Kremmerer, or The Princess of Iowa by M. Molly Backes.

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