Title: The Changing Season by Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Length: 276 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A remarkable coming-of-age story with special appeal to dog lovers.
This was supposed to be a simple summer for Billy; one more lazy expanse of time before college began. He’d fill the hours playing with Jimmy – his canine best buddy – going camping and doing all the things he promised Jimmy they’d do before Billy left.
But that was before the accident that shook the entire town.
It was before the summer job that turned into something so much more than a way to get a paycheck.
And it was before Vicki.
This summer was destined to be many things to Billy, things he didn’t truly understand until now. But it was definitely not going to be simple.
An enormously touching, richly textured, deeply moving novel of new adulthood, THE CHANGING SEASON is an experience to savor.
The Changing Season by Steven Manchester is a thought-provoking and bittersweet coming of age novel for recent high school graduate, Billy Baker.
Billy and his best friends Charlie Philips and Mark Diethelm are eagerly anticipating their last summer together before going off to college in the fall. While Charlie and Mark have their futures all mapped out, Billy is still a little lost as he tries to figure out what career appeals to him. As their summer begins, Mark gets a head start on his degree by taking a few classes at the local college and Billy starts looking for a full-time job to help pay his tuition. Charlie, on the other hand, disappears after making a fateful decision that will have a devastating effect on not only him, but numerous other people, including Billy.
Billy’s summer is off to promising start as he begins a new job at a local animal shelter and unexpectedly finds love with his new girlfriend, Vicki. He is still worrying about his future as he tries to figure out what he decide on his major, but he has a short term plan to get some of his core classes out of the way until he figures it out. His romance with Vicki is all consuming and their dates are sweet with both of them eagerly exploring their passion for each other. Unfortunately, not everything is sunshine and roses for Billy as he wrestles with a moral dilemma after a friend confesses a terrible secret to him. His loyalty to his friend eventually puts Billy in an untenable position as his relationship with Vicki becomes more serious.
As Billy transitions from naive teenager to young adult, he turns to his faithful canine companion, Jimmy, for comfort. Jimmy is a much loved family pet who has been Jimmy’s best friend and trusted confidante for the past twelve years. With Jimmy’s unconditional love and devotion, Billy survives some pretty serious heartbreak after the truth about his friend is finally revealed. Billy is also distressed by realization that while his life is just beginning, Jimmy is entering his twilight years and their time together is limited as his beloved dog begins to feel the effects of aging.
The Changing Season by Steven Manchester is a heartwarming young adult story that is fast-paced and engaging. The characters are well-developed and multi-faceted with easy to relate to flaws and imperfections. Billy’s struggles to leave boyhood behind and begin the next phase of his life are realistic and are sure to resonate with readers of all ages. The novel’s conclusion is a little poignant but uplifting as Billy embarks on the next phase of his life forever changed by the lessons learned during his last summer as a carefree teen.