Life is mundane for Julie Winter, an average sophomore living in Portland, Oregon in 1992. She wanders the local craft fair regularly with her best friend, Erika. She cuts captions for the yearbook. She avoids parental interest like the plague.
Until one day when senior swim captain Alexis notices Julie. Julie’s broad shoulders and long frame are perfect for swimming. Plus she has a brother, Jordan, whose legend whispers from every trophy case in the school. Julie is suddenly included–she’s on the swim team, asked to be a photographer in yearbook, and finds herself invited to parties that she would never have dared to attend before. Or wanted to, for that matter. Except for the fact that Alexis will be there.
Jaffe’s writing is a sweet combination of Julie’s narration, objective correlatives, insightful descriptions, and understated sentences. The tale is incomplete, reading like a snapshot of Julie’s sophomore year of high school with little context or hint of what happens next. It is a perfect excerpt of teen awkwardness: confused sexuality, the search for identity, and family troubles. Recommended to adults looking to rediscover teen years and to teens looking for literary companionship.