Charlie's not happy: her widowed father is thinking about getting remarried, her best friend Sam, who she's not-so-secretly in love with, moved to Australia, and her beloved English teacher had a heart attack right after she refused to rewrite her final assignment, so now she may never become a writer like she's always dreamed. When she decides to go up north to spend the summer with her Grams, she's got no idea what's in store. An irresistible new boyfriend who's supposed to be off-limits, a nature challenge race to train for, and a decades-old mystery involving her own mother--with so much grist for the writer's mill, Charlie will never again be able to say her life is boring! But will she unravel the small-town secrets before she unintentionally does something she'll regret for the rest of her life?
Heather Waldorf is undoubtedly one of Canada's finest new young adult novelists. Her first novel, Fighting the Current, was an absolute jewel, and Grist is just as good. Starting off with bright, original dialogue from engaging main character Charlie and her hilariously eccentric English teacher Mr. Pollen, the plot unfolds at a steady pace until the dramatic climax where all secrets are revealed. But instead of a too-quick, letdown of a denouement, Waldorf allows the novel to take its time, rearranging all the plot strands into a new pattern, permitting heroine Charlie to see how her life isn't "destroyed" by this news, it's just going to look a little different from what she thought. Grist is a fantastic book and should go on everyone's summer reading list.