Teens Kids About Rachel Fun Stuff Blog Buy a Book


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Review/ New Attitude

Just got this great new review for Brilliant! It's from School Library Journal:

VAIL, Rachel. Brilliant. 256p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. June 2010. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-089049-0; PLB $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-089050-6. LC number unavailable.

Gr 9 Up–This final, stand-alone book in the Avery sisters trilogy that includes Lucky (2008) and Gorgeous (2009, both HarperCollins) is told from 16-year-old Quinn’s point of view. The eldest child, she has always been the dependable daughter, loyal

to her parents and a good girl who works hard and excels at everything. But her mom’s loss of her high-paying job–and her need for a lawyer–is taking a toll on the whole family, Quinn included, as they prepare to move out of their home and face an uncertain future. Suddenly her behavior is very un-Quinn-like (kissing her sister’s ex, making out with guys at parties, admitting her feelings to her longtime crush), but ultimately freeing, as she comes to acknowledge her parents’ flaws as well as her own. Good girls and rebels alike will be able to identify with this adolescent rite of passage; Quinn’s response is realistic, her friends and family are well drawn, and her happy-enough ending is hard won. A natural choice for teens waiting for their next Sarah Dessen fix.–Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI

Along with Quinn's rites of passage, we're having some around here... my older son just finished his first year of high school, and my younger son is, at this very moment, finishing his last day of elementary school. And though I have a lump in my throat just typing those crazy words, I am determined to enjoy and celebrate these milestones. Last year, at the end of school, we were simultaneously in the process of moving back into our apartment after renovations. One gorgeous day last June, I realized that the sun had set over the Hudson River while my younger son and his buddies were tearing around laughing and sweating in the playground, and my older son had been hanging out with his friends cracking up -- and my husband had his

arm around me while we chatted with our terrific friends... and the whole time I was mentally scanning my to-do list. My teeth were clenched. What a waste! I did not accomplish one extra thing, standing there all tight and grim; I just missed out on low-hanging joy.

So -- not this year.

This year, though deadlines loom in front of (and behind) me, and there is, as always, a list a mile long clamoring for my immediate attention, I refuse to clench. One of my best friends in the world is about to move across the country -- and I am going to hang out with her and chill as much as possible. I am going to make time to have a cup of tea or a glass of Champagne with as many friends as I can, today and tomorrow and the next day. I am going to do my 166 pushups today and my 166 situps today as well, but I am not going to stress about that or work or anything else. I'm going to get it done and then leave it alone. And then I am going to celebrate.

Today and tomorrow and maybe even the next day, I am going to watch the sun set over the Hudson River as my kids chill with me (my big guy) or tear around sweaty and red-cheeked (my still-little-guy) with their friends -- and I am going to laugh. I'll listen to my friends and my kids and the traffic and the birds. I'll kick off my flip-flops and wiggle my toes in the sand. I'll hold a cold drink in my hand and lean back against the concrete steps with the sky filling up my field of vision until one of my kids pops up in front of me, wanting my attention -- and I will give it him, completely. I am going to enjoy all of it. I am going to fully and greedily drink it in. And I will know I am, as Jed Avery, the father in the Avery trilogy said when he was thinking about his kids and his messy imperfect flawed amazing life, "rich beyond measure."

What are you going to enjoy this week?

Let me know...


Rachel Vail


  1. I'm going to enjoy the first day of summer. After another nine exhausting months in school, I think I'm ready to get three to breathe. I'm going to take that holy day off of writing, off of planning, off of chores, off of stressing, and I'm just going to enjoy the day. After all, I have the rest of the summer to write! I have another nine months to stress! I have all of the next day to do chores and to plan! I just want the first day of summer to remind me of what it's like to breathe.

  2. I'm enjoying my last week of my freshman year at college, which has been amazingly great, probably the greatest year of my life. Tomorrow I have my last final and then my friends and I are going to celebrate it eating out, going to the swimming pool and partying all night! This is my last week living in Madrid, too, at least till I come back in October for uni.

    So, great post and excellent attitude!

    Laura (from Spain)

  3. I just enjoyed the prom send off -- a vision of black gabardine and pink satin and tulle; Thursday evening is graduation and with your guidance, I will not think even once about any A's that might have been if only... Rich beyond measure, indeed.