Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho

Al and Ollie have been friends since childhood.  Ollie's father is gone, Al's mother is gone.  They have both been quirky kids.  Now in high school things are changing.  Oliver has come down with a brain/sleeping disorder that sends him into sleep for several weeks at a time.  He partially awakens to do things like, eat, pee, embarrassing things, sexual things that he does not remember.  Althea has come to feel a deep romantic love for Oliver that he does not feel.  He goes into a medical study at a New York City hospital for his disorder.  She goes into a tail spin with him unavailable.  She dates around, she smokes, she does a little drinking, she punches out a classmate and gets expelled from school.  Desperately hoping for Ollie she lies to her father about where she is going and vanishes into New York City from North Carolina, hoping to see Ollie, hoping to get him to profess his love.  Instead, he is sleeping when she arrives, she ends up in a houseful of underemployed college drop outs, vegans, who feed the hungry in central park each day, who live very non traditionally, who help Althea see a different future, one with Ollie only as a friend, possibly having grown out of his disorder, possibly on medication to help him.  So, in the end the two once inseparable friends are growing up and growing apart.  Neither knows where the future will take them.  They are saddened and looking to the future.  The course of true love did not run smoothly in this quite interesting book.  I just have two comments,  there is a lot of "language" in this story.  I tend to weary of those words.  The writing style is quite different, switching from first, second, third person narrative frequently, took me a little getting used to.  Hope it doesn't turn off the teens its a good story.   JDW 2/18

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