ONE MAN GUY
A delightful tale, possessing a unique spark and rhythm. Barakiva’s inclusion of Armenian culture and history adds a wonderful layer to the story, keeping the plot fresh, especially when it veers too far into clichéd territory. Alek’s best friend, Becky, is a hilarious highlight and balances well with the rest of the colorful cast. Although the ending and Alek and Ethan’s relationship feel a bit rushed, this is a charming debut.
With overly protective parents who value the family’s Armenian roots more than anything, 14-year-old Alek Khederian’s life is wound rather tight. But when he’s forced to attend summer school, he crosses paths with Ethan, a confident and carefree guy who makes Alek question everything he thought he knew about himself. (FARRAR, STRAUS & GIROUX, Jun., 272 pp., $17.99, ISBN: 9780374356453, HC, 12 & Up)