Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1986
(Un)Happiness at Sea
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
'Changes in Latitudes' by Jen Malone is a great summertime read. Taking place the summer before Cassie's senior year, life begins serving up a ton of surprises. First and foremost is that Cassie, along with her mother, Elise, and brother, Drew, are going to be taking off for several months to sail a boat to Mexico. The idea is appalling to Cassie, who would much rather spend her final summer of high school hanging out with her two best friends, traveling the countryside and taking scenic detours. Adding to her upset is her parents' divorce, which is affecting her in numerous ways, including being angry at her mother, whom she had always had a great relationship with, up to the point of the divorce.

The fact is that Cassie overheard something on the last night her father stayed at home, and it is shaping the way she is placing blame for the divorce, and the way she is coping with her life after the fact. As she deals with what she considers a complete upheaval of her life, she finds that not everything is quite as bad as it seems to be. Her pride, however, keeps her from admitting this, until her father requests that she send him two pictures every day, one of something bad or that isn't going her way, and one of something good or right in her day. This task helps Cassie gain some much needed perspective and come to new understandings of not only herself, but of her mother, and of her life in general.

When she meets Jonah, a cute and quick-witted deckhand on a boat that is in their caravan down to Mexico, she learns that perspective is a definite plus, and everything and everyone has their own which might change the way they live their lives, the way in which they treat others, etc. Between Jonah's seeming ease with the father he doesn't talk to and Cassie's anger at her mother that she can't seem to let go, they work together, sometimes unknowingly, to come to conclusions about how to move past the struggles that seem to be overtaking their lives.

Cute references to 'Star Wars' and welcome quotes about what it takes to be happy lend credibility to the novel, showing how Cassie's perspective might just change her life and her relationships in some of the best ways possible. There is some predictability at work in the novel, but it doesn't take away from the desire to find out how it will all end up. Fans of stories with romance, sightseeing, and a healthy dose of drama will really enjoy 'Changes in Latitudes' by Jen Malone. Definitely worth picking up this summer - or any time of the year, for that matter.
Good Points
Fans of stories with romance, sightseeing, and a healthy dose of drama will really enjoy 'Changes in Latitudes' by Jen Malone. Definitely worth picking up this summer - or any time of the year, for that matter.
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