An enchanting, creative young adult book about uncovering your true identity.

By Ken Schafer ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 31, 2023

Ken Schafer

Gwen Pendergrass, the protagonist of Schafer’s YA novel, is a plucky teenage girl determined to find her father, whom she has never met. All she knows is that her mother, Karen, met him in Las Vegas and the only pictures she has of him are from a casino photo booth. Gwen and her mother have been living in a one-bedroom apartment, with Karen working as a waitress to support them both. Karen had always wanted to be a writer, but motherhood took precedence. In an effort to help her mom realize her dream, Gwen secretly applies to a writing program at Yale on Karen’s behalf, but even with the scholarship she is offered, there is not enough money for Karen to go back to school. Karen then reveals to Gwen that her father was a successful and wealthy Hollywood screenwriter who never knew she was pregnant. With this new information, Gwen is determined to find her father and convince him to help pay for Karen’s schooling.

Gwen Pendergrass

She enlists the help of her best friend, Peter, the son of two hippies, and sets out on her mission. However, things don’t go as planned and Gwen quickly finds herself in a series of unfortunate events. Gwen narrates the story in first person, and her witty and insightful voice quickly draws the reader in. She describes her hometown as an “alka-seltzer of a former town” that has been “dissolving away over the years ever since the proud city of Roxbury was eaten by Boston and dissolved into the melting pot of greater Bostburbia”. The book is set during the Obama administration, though some aspects of it feel older, which may confuse some younger readers. Despite this, the characters and story structure have a timeless, almost cinematic quality that many readers will enjoy.

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Pub Date: July 31, 2023
ISBN: 9781958456040

Page Count: 274
Publisher: Moon Jumper Press

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023