Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Publication date: December 3, 2013
*Mature situations and sexual content - recommended for ages 17+*
It’s impossible to focus on college biology when your family believes doomsday is imminent and the government is out to get you.
All Pete Wilson’s ever wanted is to become a veterinarian, but those dreams are going up in flames. Commuting to an urban college and helping his parents with their apocalyptic prepper crap is more than he can handle.
Worse, Pete’s asshole neighbor is stirring up trouble, his family’s stockpile has been destroyed and farm animals are turning up dead.
Lindsey Linger is the tomboy sister of his best friend. Now a sexy spitfire, she and Pete are liable to set the barn ablaze as their romance finally heats up. But she’s hiding a terrible secret, and rural life isn’t all bonfires and hayloft romps. That becomes clear one icy winter night when the survival of everyone Pete loves hangs in the balance.
Can Pete be the hero they need, or will this be the end of the world as he knows it?
"Why are you such a bitch?"
"Why are you such a coward?"
She's delivered a pitchfork to my heart.
I'm all of these things.
But most of all, I'm ashamed.
I've had a bit of a problem with the last few books that I've read. It's taken me a little while to get into them. Shelf Life was no different. I don't think it was any fault with the story. I found myself just following along, but not being taken in by it. But somewhere along the way, and I'm not even sure at what point, I was hooked by the everything that was unfolding in front of my eyes. It somehow went from there seeming to be quite slow moving with not a whole lot going on to there being so much happening.
Pete Wilson's family is unconventional. His father is a returned serviceman who is preparing them for the doomsday. And they run an almost self sufficient farm, growing, producing and making everything they need to get by. Besides the chores that Pete has around the farm, he is just about to start college, working his way towards becoming a Veterinarian. He has a great friendship with his best friend Lewis and has strong feelings for Lewis's sister Lindsey, who has hung out with them since they were kids. Pete's school life has been tough. It's been plagued by the constant bullying of the school jock Jay. After an incredibly twisted incident at a local party, Pete's whole world as he knows it falls apart. He's not at all prepared for the changes and will be faced with some choices and decisions along the way to growing up and becoming a man.
Realistic YA is quite possibly my most favourite to read and Stephanie Lawton's Shelf Life was so full of the realities of life. There is so much family dysfunction throughout the story. Parents who are not fit to be parents, kids who have no experience with familial love, bullying, both verbal and physical abuse, sex, drugs and drinking. But there is also friendship, realising the goodness of family, sacrifices, growth, and a most beautiful love.
Pete grew so much throughout this book, and as he did, my respect grew right along with him. He proved to be so much more than what I thought he could be. He really showed what a good heart he has and when things were falling apart, he stood tall to do whatever he could to fix them. His love for Lindsey was amazing, and I really hope that we see lots more of their developing relationship in the next book.
For about the last third of the book, and I can't even be sure if it was from that point exactly, because I didn't even check my progress on my kindle but there I was, completely entrenched in the life of Pete and all of those around him. The chain of events that were occurring towards the end of the book were just coming at me so crazy fast. It was like a whirlwind picking things up and spitting them out, but I never could have predicted the impact it was all going to have.
I have so many things that I need to have answers to. When I finished reading Shelf Life, I had forgotten that it was only the first book in the series, and now I can't wait to see how the ramifications of all that happened in this book will play out.
Despite having not read anything by Stephanie Lawton before, I was really impressed with the ease of her writing and the depth of her characters. I can guarantee that this won't be the last book I read by her.
4.5/5 Pete Wilson, Growing Up Stars
Always a misfit, Stephanie Lawton writes twisted romance that tugs the heart strings then punches you in the gut.She has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles. She has a fascination with teacher-student relationships, bullies, psychics, doomsday preppers and larger-than-life characters.Making readers squirm is her greatest pleasure.Proceed with caution.
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