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Speed of Life
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Speed of Life
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Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to...
Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to...
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Description-

  • Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to raise the baby together. It's not easy, but between their after-school jobs, they're scraping by.

    Crystal's grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor, who tells her about a college that offers a degree in automotive restoration, perfect for the car buff she is. When she secretly applies—and gets in—new opportunities threaten their once-certain plans, and Crystal must make a choice: follow her dreams or stay behind and honor the promise she made to her sister.

About the Author-

  • J. M. Kelly was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada. When she's not working on her novels, she writes nonfiction articles, plays, and sketch comedy, and teaches writing to both kids and adults.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 29, 2016
    After one of the Robbins twins has a baby the summer before their senior year—Kelly avoids revealing which one until well into the novel—the girls vow to keep the child they name Natalie, graduate from their Portland, Ore., high school, and create better lives for all three of them. Amber wants to take over her aunt’s tavern someday, and Crystal, passionate about vintage cars, plans to become a mechanic. When Crystal learns about a car restoration program at a Kansas college, she’s torn. Told from Crystal’s perspective, this contemporary novel from Kelly (the author of Restoring Harmony and other books as Joëlle Anthony) is rife with internal and external conflicts as it traces a sister’s reckoning with secrets and the bonds of family. While highlighting the difficulties of being a teenage parent, Kelly shows how hard work, determination, and honesty can help make dreams come true. If the mystery of Natalie’s parentage feels overly manufactured, the book remains a believable portrait of blue-collar teens struggling to make it work against tough odds. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2016
    Crystal has always wanted to escape poverty, but she never thought her plan would involve vintage muscle cars and a baby.Although identical twins, Amber is the party girl all the guys lust after, while Crystal thinks she probably likes guys but is not certain yet. When a baby named Natalie enters their lives, the white high school seniors agree to raise it together in their blue-collar Portland, Oregon, neighborhood, even trading off child care responsibilities around school and their jobs. Both are content with the thought of finding an apartment for them and "their" baby in a better neighborhood and taking up their jobs full-time after graduation, with Amber working at her aunt's tavern and Crystal repairing vintage muscle cars. That is until Crystal learns about the auto-restoration program at McPherson College, a program and college that actually exist in Kansas. Crystal's narration is emotionally gripping as she deals not only with deviating from the twins' plan behind Amber's back, but the possibility of achieving her goals without Amber and even Natalie in her life. Her road takes still more twists and turns when she must also confront the truth of Natalie's conception. Crystal's struggles with independence and identity are realistic and palpable. Feminist readers in particular will appreciate this strong young woman who doesn't conform to gender norms. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2016

    Gr 9 Up-Twin sisters Amber and Crystal want to be the first in their family to graduate from high school, get better jobs, and move to a safer neighborhood. But when Amber gets pregnant in their junior year, they decide to become a family unit to support each other and the baby. At the beginning of their senior year, Crystal's good grades put her on the radar of the new guidance counselor, who plants the idea that college isn't out of her reach. Crystal starts to think that there is more to life than just struggling and that maybe she can create an even better life for herself and her family. This is a good read about a theme not found in many young adult books; poverty is front and center. It adequately addresses some issues but misses other important topics that lower-income students deal with while applying for colleges (such as fee waivers). The twins' push to make a better life for themselves will resonate with some teens. There is a twist that doesn't seem necessary, but it doesn't detract from the overall plot. VERDICT The subject and the teen's efforts to succeed make this a good purchase for libraries, especially those looking for realistic fiction that addresses class disparity.-Faythe Arredondo, Tulare County Library, CA

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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