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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Out of Order


Colt Trammel is trying to make sense of his high school world. His classes are like gibberish, his girlfriend Grace freaks after he tells her he loves her, and his lab partner is a new girl with green hair, for Pete's sake. The only time Colt knows what's going on is when he's playing baseball.

A.M. Jenkins is a master at drawing readers right into the characters. Colt is not a simple jock stereotype. His love for Grace makes him vulnerable, and the failures he experiences in his classes make him feel perpetually stupid.

Colt's struggle with the romantic poets from his English class becomes crucial when his grades drop below what is acceptable for playing athletes. He finds a tutor in Chloe, formerly of the green hair. Jenkins writes their tutoring sessions with humor. Anyone who has struggled to understand classic poems will especially enjoy these parts of the books.

It is also nice to see in a book the boy's side of a painful dating relationship. Readers will sympathize with this supposed tough guy as he pines for Grace, who doesn't treat him well.

Jenkins gives us a three-dimensional character in Colt, who is likable despite some bad choices that will have the reader cringing. OUT OF ORDER is a realistic book, and readers will want to see more of what happens to Colt.

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