FICTION

Past Perfect Life

Bloomsbury. Jul. 2019. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781547600922.
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Gr 9 Up–Ally Smith is in her senior year at her small-town high school in Wisconsin. She is at the top of her class and plans to attend UW–Green Bay with a much-needed merit scholarship. Her father is widowed and works seasonal construction jobs to barely make ends meet. But despite periodic financial troubles, Ally loves the life she and her father share. The two are incredibly close, with countless traditions and inside jokes. Ally also has the love and support of the large Gleason family, who practically run everything in town. Their support becomes crucial when Ally learns the reason her social security number was rejected during the college application process. Suddenly, she realizes that her entire life has been a lie. The turning point in Ally’s life is foreshadowed in the opening pages, but once readers discover her new reality, they will race to the end of the story. The secondary characters are not entirely well drawn, but their connection with and importance to Ally is clear, especially as she struggles with the possibility of being away from them. The ending is a bit discordant with the character development, but readers will find much to discuss and debate as Ally navigates her new life.
VERDICT Readers looking for a quick yet compelling novel will want to add this to their summer beach bags

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