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Getting to Alpenglow
ReRe finds being 15 is hard enough, but after that a sister would have undiagnosed mental illness in the rise of a pandemic. ReRe finds the best way to cope is to look at everyday's emotions and actions as colors until she discovers that what others do is only a reflection of her and not of who she really is. She finally realized she's just Getting to Alpenglow and the real her is about to emerge.
Reviews
Shivers makes her fiction debut with this young adult novella in which fifteen-year-old Aretha–better known as ReRe–narrates her extraordinary and ordinary dramas, including major family conflicts, attempted assault, run-ins with police, and everyday worries like feeling less attractive and popular than her older sister, Tori. Indeed, ReRe’s story is also that of Tori, a difficult teenager if there ever was one. As internal and external pressures build, resilient ReRe fights to keep a positive spin on things. ReRe cheekily says, “If I ever decide to write a book about our lives, I know that it would be categorized as a fiction because no one would ever believe that a person would have to live through so much just to come into their own.”

Endearing and engaging, Getting to Alpenglow is a fluently written account of a modern, fatherless teenager both before and after the Covid-19 pandemic. Each chapter takes its name from ReRe’s color-coordinated mood—the organizing principle of the book—and these especially ring when they correlate to sweetness, such as in “Cotton Candy Pink,” a chapter on ReRe’s very young (but age-appropriate) romance.

No quotidian teenage subject is left undiscussed, from church to high school to small town gossip to the onslaught of quarantine. A tone that is loose, laid back and associative often evokes the feel of a diary entry, with the narrator making the occasional precious, revealing mistake or typo, as when she appropriates adult phrases, such as calling a stick in the mud “stuck in the mud.” ReRe’s breathless teenage voice is persuasive, and is engaging and relatable enough to appeal to anyone with youth in their life (or veins.) Eventually, Getting to Alpenglow reveals a focus on mental illness and its impact on families, material handled with such sensitivity that readers of serious young adult fiction will acclaim the book for its timeliness and relevance.

Takeaway: This relatable YA novel boasts a compelling teen voice as its narrator faces love, mental health issues, and the start of the pandemic.

Great for fans of: Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Helena Fox’s How it Feels to float.

Production grades
Cover: C
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+

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