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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review: Six Months Later

Title: Six Months Later
Author: Natalie D. Richards
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: October 1, 2013
Genre: YA 
Rec. Age Level: 13+
More by author: none

 Picture Me Gone
Natalie D. Richards gives readers a fast-paced mystery thriller with her debut, Six Months Later. Not only is this novel impossible to put down, it is uncomfortably easy to relate to: students facing the pressures of secondary education and struggling to be everything in order to achieve today's version of "success" will identify with Chloe as her fears and their fears begin to intersect and overlap.

Chloe has never been a model student and she can't be considered popular, but she's her own person and the only person she needs is her best friend, Maggie. While her mother might not be thrilled with Chloe's choices and view on life, she's content. Everything changes when Chloe falls asleep during Study Hall in May and wakes in the same classroom... in the dark... with snow falling outside. Somehow, Chloe has lost six months of time, months in which her life has drastically changed. Now, she's one of the top students in her class, she's dating her long-time crush, and she's a shoo in for the top universities in the country. Which all sounds great in theory, except for the fact that her memory is gone, Maggie refuses to speak to her, her boyfriend gives her the creeps, and she can't stop thinking about a boy she barely acknowledged six months ago. Things aren't adding up and Chloe is determined to prove she's not crazy and figure out what happened in the six months she's forgotten.

Not only does Six Months Later offer readers a great mystery and a realistic main character, it confronts some important ideas about high school life, including what constitutes academic success, dealing with pressure and judgement from parents and peers, and, though in an indirect way, the issue of stimulants and drug use in an academic setting. Though I didn't necessarily think that last issue was necessarily a main underlying theme of the novel, I couldn't help but compare some of the situations and details in the novel to the recreation use of Adderall and other stimulants that are often used by students to keep a competitive edge.

I highly recommend Six Months Later. It's sure to hook readers with it's skillfully constructed mystery plot, plus readers will appreciate that it's a standalone. I look forward to the next novel from Richards, as her debut stood out with a memorable plot and unique and engaging characters.
Notable Quotes:
"Dr. Kirkpatrick sits back in her chair. She's got some issues too, I'd bet. I've seen her a total of thirteen times, including this session, and in that time, she's had three drastically different hairstyles. Talk about identity issues.

The last time, she had an auburn pixie cut. Now her hair is jet-black and angled harshly around her chin. She looked friendlier before, like a fairy just a few years past her prime. I can't help feeling like this version of Dr. Kirkpatrick should slap on some red lipstick and pull a gun on me or something."
"I pull out the paper and unfold it, and the scrawl on the front is immediately recognizable. Because it's mine. The three words seem innocuous enough, but they send a chill from the roots of my hair through the soles of my feet."
Don't miss my review with the author of Six Months Later, Natalie D. Richards, here!

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