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Speed of Life
Cover of Speed of Life
Speed of Life
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From award winning author Carol Weston comes an uplifting, heartfelt tale of bravery and strength in the face of loss and grief, perfect for tweens, teens and adults alike."I will eagerly place it on...
From award winning author Carol Weston comes an uplifting, heartfelt tale of bravery and strength in the face of loss and grief, perfect for tweens, teens and adults alike."I will eagerly place it on...
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  • From award winning author Carol Weston comes an uplifting, heartfelt tale of bravery and strength in the face of loss and grief, perfect for tweens, teens and adults alike.

    "I will eagerly place it on my daughter's bookshelf, so that she, like Sofia, can find her own resilience and voice in our painful, joyful, speeding world."—New York Times

    Sofia lost her mother eight months ago, and her friends were 100% there for her. Now it's a new year and they're ready for Sofia to move on. But being a motherless daughter is hard to get used to, especially when you're only fourteen.

    Problem is, Sofia can't bounce back, can't recharge like a cellphone. She decides to write Dear Kate, an advice columnist for Fifteen Magazine, and is surprised to receive a fast reply. Soon the two are exchanging emails, and Sofia opens up and spills all, including a few worries that are totally embarrassing. Turns out even advice columnists don't have all the answers, and one day Sofia learns a secret that flips her world upside down.

    2018 Best Fiction for Young Adults - American Library Association
    A 2018 Best Children's Book of the Year - Bank Street College of Education
    2017 Best Fiction for Older Readers - Chicago Public Library
    2019–2020 Young Hoosier Book Award Longlist
    Four STARRED Reviews

    Read the first page from Speed of Life:

    WARNING: This is kind of a sad story.

    At least at first. So if you don't like sad stories, maybe you shouldn't read this. I mean, I'd understand if you put it down and watched cat videos instead. I like cat videos too.

    Then again, this book is already in your hands. It starts and ends on January 1, and I was thinking of calling it The Year My Whole Life Changed. Or Life, Death, and Kisses. Or maybe even The Year I Grew Up.

    For me, being fourteen was hard. Really hard. Childhood was a piece of cake. Being a kid in New York City and spending summers in Spain, that was all pretty perfect, looking back. But being fourteen was like climbing a mountain in the rain. In flip-flops. I hoped I'd wind up in a different place, but I kept tripping and slipping and falling and wishing it weren't way too late to turn around.

    This book does have funny parts. And I learned two giant facts:
  • Number one: everything can change in an instant—for worse, sure, but also for better.
  • Number two: sometimes, if you just keep climbing, you get an amazing view. You see what's behind you and what's ahead of you and—the big surprise—what's inside you.

About the Author-

  • Carol Weston has been the "Dear Carol" advice columnist at Girls' Life since 1994. Her sixteen books include Ava and Pip, Ava and Taco Cat, Ava XOX, The Diary of Melanie Martin, and Girltalk, which came out in a dozen languages. Her newest novel, Speed of Life, is coming out in April 2017. A summa cum laude Yale grad, Carol has an MA in Spanish from Middlebury. She lives in Manhattan and her website is carolweston.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 13, 2017
    Weston (the Ava and Pip series) carefully explores grief, blended families, and first love as she follows 14-year-old Sofia Wolfe, whose mother died of a sudden aneurysm. With her mother gone, Sofia is facing the difficult realization that life goes on: “You can’t mourn forever. When you’re alive you have to live.” After Kate Baird, who writes the “Dear Kate” advice column for Fifteen magazine, visits her school, Sofia begins an email correspondence with her; complications arise when Sofia learns that Kate is the mystery woman her father has been dating. After she and her father move in with Kate and her teenage daughter, Alexa, Sofia must decide whether she will leave her Upper West Side private school for public school and pursue a relationship with Sam, Alexa’s ex. Each chapter represents a month, and readers spend a year with Sofia as Weston believably chronicles her transition from middle school to high school. Sofia’s growth—amid unexpected interest from boys, her first relationship, new additions to her family, and grief—is both relatable and moving. Ages 11–14. Agent: Susan Ginsberg, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from February 15, 2017
    With the first anniversary of her mother's death quickly approaching, 14-year-old Sofia finds herself full of questions with nowhere to turn for answers. When a white teen-advice columnist visits her private NYC school, Sofia finds sending an anonymous email to a stranger is a lot easier than approaching her father in person. Soon the white girl is corresponding regularly with Dear Kate, the straight-talking source for teen girls. Sofia talks about her mother, boys, her changing body, and friend drama. And Kate seems to really care. But things get tricky when the mystery woman her father has been seeing turns out to be Kate herself. And they become even more difficult when Sofia meets Kate's angry daughter, Alexa, and starts falling for a boy Alexa used to date. But good friends, including Vietnamese-Brazilian Kiki, and a devoted father help Sofia find her way through the maze of parties, hook-ups, and possible first love. The multicultural cast is led by the completely likable Sofia, whose mother was Spanish and whose abuelo's comforting presence remains across the ocean. Her story has no fast, easy answers, but there is a clear message that while time does not necessarily heal, it helps. The advice of not to fall too hard, too fast, or too far is real, not preachy. Complex characters and a strong voice make this one stand out. (Fiction. 11-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2017

    Gr 7-10-It's January, and eighth grader Sofia's mother has now been dead for nine months. Disturbed that her dad has started dating so soon, Sofia, who is half Spanish, writes to Fifteen magazine's "Dear Kate" for advice. Kate's thoughtful response soon has Sofia writing back multiple times, asking many of the questions that a normal teen would ask her mom-if she still had one. Sofia is horrified to discover that the mystery woman her dad is dating is none other than Dear Kate herself! Does Sofia come clean or just disappear? This slice-of-life story echoes the author's own experience as a teen magazine advice columnist and addresses all sorts of issues: death, grieving, moving, parental dating, parental sexuality, stepsibling conflict, self-esteem, relationships, and more. This refreshing work tackles a lot of themes, but eventually Sofia does get to a better place. The target audience is likely to become engaged despite the slow pace, because Weston isn't afraid to tackle the squirm-inducing questions common to high school freshmen too embarrassed to seek sound information from reliable sources. VERDICT Purchase where sweet and charming character-driven fiction for tweens is in demand.-Elizabeth Friend, Wester Middle School, TX

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books karatea10 - This is a heartwarming story. Sofia goes on lot's of adventures through the book and makes me want to read more of the book every time. This has officially become my favorite book ever. I can't say enough about this book.
  • Booklist

    Starred review from April 15, 2017
    Grades 6-9 *Starred Review* Fourteen-year-old Sofia Wolfe moves through life smiling with friends and hiding the sorrow of having lost her Spanish mother almost a year earlier. The only people she has to talk to are her abuelo in Spain, andregarding girl things Dear Kate, a teen-advice columnist with whom she can anonymously discuss personal matters. When Sofia's father reveals he's dating Kate, Sofia initially feels betrayed that he's moving on with his life when she can't. But just as things start to gel between Kate and Sofia, Kate's daughter Alexa and her ex-boyfriend complicate Sofia's life further. This novel is jam-packed with important, dramatic, and inevitable aspects of adolescence, from pimples to periods to popularity. On top of these concerns are potential developments that could destroy Sofia's life: having to move and attend a new school, becoming part of a blended family, navigating new friendship dynamics, and learning that people you look up to aren't always who you think they are. The narrative effectively contrasts the diversity of a city environment with that of suburban life, and any opportunity for over-the-top melodrama is tempered by the book's strong and likable narrator. Weston draws heavily on her years as Dear Carol at Girls' Life magazine, creating a solid, affecting tale of maturing and coming to grips with one's reality.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

  • The New York Times "Perceptive, funny and moving...I laughed out loud and I teared up while reading this novel. I will eagerly place it on my daughter's bookshelf, so that she, like Sofia, can find her own resilience and voice in our painful, joyful, speeding world."
  • Teen Librarian Toolbox, School Library Journal "Sofia's growth-amid unexpected interest from boys, her first relationship, new additions to her family, and grief-is both relatable and moving."
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review "This slice-of-life story echoes the author's own experience as a teen magazine advice columnist and addresses all sorts of issues: death, grieving, moving, parental dating, parental sexuality, stepsibling conflict, new schools, self-esteem, and relationships. This refreshing work tackles a lot of themes, but eventually Sofia does get to a better place...Weston isn't afraid to tackle the squirm-inducing questions common to high school freshmen too embarrassed to seek sound information from reliable sources."
  • Kirkus, starred review "This novel is jam-packed with important, dramatic, and inevitable aspects of adolescence, from pimples to periods to popularity...Weston draws heavily on her years as "Dear Carol" at Girls' Life magazine, creating a solid, affecting tale of maturing and coming to grips with one's reality."
  • School Library Journal, starred review "Weston imparts insights about life and loss throughout, tracing Sofia's increasing maturity; by the time Sofia turns fifteen, "I had gotten out of from under the heavy blanket of grief. I was...growing up." Supported by sympathetic friends and family (including Kate, who is just as nice in person, and always gives excellent advice), Sofia faces each new challenge in her life with honesty, bravery, and humor."
  • Booklist, starred review "Author Carol Weston (Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You; Ava and Pip) has been the voice of "Dear Carol" at Girls' Life magazine since 1994. She draws on her many years of experience to tackle tough issues with honesty and humor. Death and grieving, self-esteem, "bras, periods, cliques, and crushes" are all addressed head-on in this engaging novel. Readers will enjoy spending a pivotal year with Sofia, as she learns to find comfort in life's changes, both big and small."
  • Horn Book Magazine "A sweet, moving tale about grief and growing up."
  • Shelf Awareness "A letter-writing habit turns hairy in Carol Weston's Speed of Life (Sourcebooks)."
  • New York Post "This is, perhaps, the most perfect eighth grade girl book I have ever read. In fact, it was excruciating to read (in the best possible way) as I felt I was right back in Middle School myself. It reminded me of nothing more than the Judy Blume books I read at that age, but current for today's readers."

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