Monday, February 3, 2014

Crestlane County Stole My Heart

It’s impossible to focus on college biology when your family believes doomsday is imminent and the government is out to get you. All Pete Wilson’s ever wanted is to become a veterinarian, but those dreams are going up in flames. Commuting to an urban college and helping his parents with their apocalyptic prepper crap is more than he can handle. Worse, Pete’s asshole neighbor is stirring up trouble, his family’s stockpile has been destroyed and farm animals are turning up dead. Lindsey Linger is the tomboy sister of his best friend. Now a sexy spitfire, she and Pete are liable to set the barn ablaze as their romance finally heats up. But she’s hiding a terrible secret, and rural life isn’t all bonfires and hayloft romps. That becomes clear one icy winter night when the survival of everyone Pete loves hangs in the balance. Can Pete be the hero they need, or will this be the end of the world as he knows it?

Author: Stephanie Lawton
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
Publisher: IJP Press
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Age Recommendation: 17 and Up
Rating: 5 Stars

Stephanie Lawton has a way about her writing that sends her characters on a true journey of discovery and enlightenment. She cuts through the fluff and hits at the heart of some tough subjects, she doesn't shy away and she doesn't back down. She lays down some pretty challenging story lines in Shelf Life and her a character development is spot on.  All her books make you think and this one is no different. I walked away my heart simultaneously aching and rejoicing, the question What would you do at the forefront of my thoughts.

"We all know the world has shifted among the three of us - Something horrible has been unleashed that I'm afraid will never be fixed or forgotten...or forgiven." - Pete

Who is Pete (our protagonist) Wilson?  He's a teenage boy on the cusp of being a man. A boy who longs to escape the confines of his family and community.  He's a boy afraid to see the life in front of him, a life where his family is ridiculed for their choices, where he has to face the uncertainty of everyday with a father who has come back from war suffering with sever PTSD and life with a sister he can barely tolerate.

  He's a boy who wants to find love and acceptance. Ignored in high school except for when being bullied by the winner of the title 'biggest class jerk ever', Jay.  He hangs out, when not working the farm, with his best friend Lewis and his secret crush, Lindsey, Lewis's Sister.

"My palms are sweaty, but then I kick myself because it's just Lindsey.  This is the girl who shot milk out her nose at my dinner table and built forts with me and Lewis.  Of course she is also the girl who kissed me on the lips behind her dad's tool shed.  We were twelve, but still" - Pete

In one night, one horrifically disturbing incident brings his world crashing down around him and his coming of age journey begins.  The choices he makes are tough to handle at times, but that is coming from a reader with years of insight under her belt.  His reactions to the situations dealt are what you would expect from a young man learning where he stands and what is important in life. 

So the question remains when you've finished the book.  What would you do?

Shelf Life is a story that will touch your heart and leave you wanting to know more about the people of Crestlane County.

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