Editor’s Choice Award – ALA Booklist
Synopsis for book:
Describing the painful realization in growing up when we realize that no one person has all the answers, RIPPLES is the story of Brenton Heathersfield’s coming of age in one final summer at the beach. Christian is his friend who holds all the success and answers while they grow up together in Baltimore, Maryland, spending the summers along the Maryland Shore. But when Brenton moves and they are reunited four years later – things have changed. Brenton comes to realize Christian’s tragic weakness, and conversely – his own.
“A fine first effort, this novel has moments of riveting power and compelling, even poetic language. As a coming-of-age novel it holds its own, recapturing the elusive quality of uncertainty and boldness that marks adolescents on the brink of adulthood. The two main characters, Brenton and Christian, grapple with the boundaries of friendship, the responsibilities of relationships, and the meaning of what it is to be one’s own man. Competition and cowardice, friendship and fairness are examined within the framework of a summer romance and punctuated by new friends and old dreams.” – From Library Journal
“Although this coming-of-age novel emerges as an updated version of A Separate Peace , the book’s stereotypical characters and strained symbolism make it somewhat less enticing than John Knowles’s classic. Narrator Brenton Heathersfield recalls his boyhood hero worship of superathlete Christian Streizer, a handsome, fearless boy with an ego as large as his talent for sports. Christian’s frailties do not come to light until his 18th summer, when he and Brenton take jobs in Ocean City, Md. The young man’s condescending attitude annoys Brenton, who nonetheless continues to look up to his friend as someone extraordinary–until an act of betrayal and a fatal accident confirm Christian’s vulnerability. Structured as a series of flashbacks, this first novel introduces some significant themes about self-discovery and the realization of dreams. Ultimately, however, the plot is too predictable and some ideas are overstated. Ages 12-up.” – From Publishers Weekly