Reviews for Stranded in Harmony


The Book Report Reviews 1997 November-December
Lucas Cantrell decides, in his senior year of high school, he has been merely treading water--not really alive, not really his real self. His perfect life in his hometown of Harmony, Indiana--football captain, good grades, cheerleader girlfriend--no longer seems real. No one seems real to him until he meets Allie Bowen, middle-aged survivor of his favorite period of time, the 1960s. Allie is looking for harmony in her own life and fleeing from herself. The story is about how a young man and older woman can be effective friends who help and change the other for the better. Lucas must determine what it is he really wants of life and how to best go about achieving that. Mature young adults--and there is a considerable amount of sex in the book--will readily relate to the characters in the story, especially to Lucas's struggles. One of the most poignant relations to Lucas was that his fullride college football scholarship offer comes about only because he "...wanted to kill everyone [he] saw... "Shoup has captured the essence of some of the troubles that plague today's young adults. This gripping story will remain with readers for a long while Recommended. Kay Bowes. Wilmington Institute Library, Wilmington, © 1997 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 July 1997
Gr. 7^-10. The backdrop may be familiar--a frustrated teenager is cooped up in a small midwestern town--but inside this story is a gem of a friendship between 18-year-old Lucas and fortysomething Allie, who moves in nearby. Lucas seems to be on the fast track to success: he's a football star who gets good grades and goes out with a beautiful cheerleader, and he's only biding his time before heading off to college. But during his senior year, he begins to chafe under his responsibilities and finds himself treating his girlfriend badly one day and begging her forgiveness the next. Enter Allie, a woman coming to terms with a mistake in the past, who helps Lucas make a new start without destroying everyone and everything around him. Despite the main character's emotional ups and downs, this is a surprisingly upbeat (some may say too upbeat) story, one that sees friendships shatter and mend, and one that shows parents trusting a son's decision. ((Reviewed July 1997)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1998
Published spring 1997. In his senior year in high school, Lucas Cantrell is tired of playing football, resents his father's plans for his future, and is bored with his long-time girlfriend. When he meets an older woman, a former SDS militant during the sixties, he gains a new perspective on his life and begins to take control of it. The characters, emotions, and issues ring true, even if the tone is preachy at times. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1997 May #2
Suddenly restless with small-town life ("I felt as if I'd just awakened from a long sleep"), high school senior Lucas Cantrell is anxious to move on with his life somewhere other than Harmony, Ind. Unfortunately, the rate of his progression may seem as slow for readers as for him. While the smooth narrative provides many insightful moments, nearly all of which emerge from Lucas's involvement with two atypical members of the community, the momentum lags as Lucas meanders through the fall semester trying to find the right time to break up with his cheerleader girlfriend and to admit his disinterest in football, the sport that has made him a local hero. The pace does pick up considerably in the last few chapters, as Lucas's growing friendship with Allie, a '60s radical, coincides with personal loss, and Lucas feels a "sudden clarity" that dispels his ennui. While YAs bored with the high school scene will relate to Lucas's case of senioritis, there's less for them to sink their teeth into here than in Shoup's first book, Wish You Were Here. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1997 June
A rich study of a confused, high school senior who is riddled with raging hormones and longs to escape his small-town life. Lucas is captain of the football team, has a scholarship offer in his pocket, and a popular cheerleader at his side. He is bored and dissatisfied with his life, however, and when he fears that his girlfriend may be pregnant, he realizes that he is not in love with her. Filled with turmoil, he often escapes to his elderly cousin's cabin. A long-term reclusive invalid, Ronnie Dale needs lots of care. Enter the mysterious Allie, a middle-aged woman who is renting a nearby cabin. Both Lucas and Ronnie Dale immediately feel comfortable with this stranger, and Allie reluctantly agrees to be a resource for the teen's `60s research project. He eventually discovers that she is still trying to come to terms with her militant SDS activities during college. As he spends more time with Allie, he loses touch with his school persona. In the end, he is able to make decisions that are right for him. In a highly believable manner, this compelling and highly textured novel weaves together yearnings for freedom, family friction, political issues of the `60s, and personal traumas. Shoup respects her readers' intelligence by not offering any easy outs or cardboard villains. Multidimensional characters and a plot that clearly shows actions and reactions encourage YAs to look at decision making on several levels. Randy Powell's Dean Duffy (Farrar, 1995) shares similar themes. Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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