|AN OFF YEAR|
I have to be upfront and tell you that not much happens in this book. Cecily's year is one of ennui and is broken up by month as she narrates, with her quirky and dry wit, the nothingness that is her life. Her dad is perplexed at why she's chosen not to go to school but, surprisingly, he doesn't try to change her mind. Her older, college-graduate sister is jealous of the time she gets to spend doing nothing, while Cecily herself is about as confused as the rest of them. She hadn't planned on ditching college, but once she does she doesn't second-guess herself. She watches as friends turn into "college clones" and becomes annoyed with the passive-aggressive hints her parents are sending her way about heading back to school the next year. Mostly though, she does nothing.
And yet that doesn't stop the book from being awesome. Cecily -- unsure and bucking what's expected of her -- is refreshing and realistic. There's an honesty here and as Cecily looks at her choices and why she did what she did, the topic of the future and what lies ahead is addressed so incredibly well. Cecily is accused of being lazy, spoiled, and self-absorbed... all of which is somewhat true. But she's also honest in confronting her flaws and unafraid of not knowing what happens next. The secondary characters that people the novel, from her dad to her siblings and friends, are all unique and realistic in their own ways. Her older sister has yet to find her first post-college job while her jet-set mother thinks that the gap year Cecily's taking is absolutely glamorous and that she should do something amazing, like write a book or travel.
But Cecily didn't think that far and she doesn't necessarily want to do something amazing, she just wants to figure out what happens next, which is the overwhelming theme of this book. What happens next? What does the future hold? Where do you want to be and how do you get there? The book explores these themes with realism and humor, making it stand out from the crowd.