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March 09, 2010
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"Imagine" leaves me imagining what comes next !
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Reader reviewed by Jan Fan

"Imagine" is a story about a TJ, teenage guy who is far more interested in music than high school.  As the story opens, TJ, a junior in high school, is given an opportunity of his life time to perform before a large audience.  It will be his first performance, ever, and it is happening in just 2 days.  TJ meets this challenge and is pumped up by the recognition. 

The story then follows TJ and his friends through their junior year in high school, with a range of experiences with relationships, activities, after-school jobs and more.   However, the focal point is a student project on the Viet Nam war that TJ and a small group of classmates need to present in the third quarter. Within the context of this assignment, the reader gets to know TJ, his family, friends, a teacher, and the larger high school student body.   

The tension builds up to the point of the presentation. There are obstacles and distractions, but in the end the presentation exceeds all expectations.

This is a debut novel by Kathy Picciano that held my attention from the beginning right through to the last page.  I read it non-stop, taking breaks only for necessary commitments.

Throughout the story,  I could relate to the varied characters.  I do not personally have a  passion for music, but I was still drawn into the story.  In the end it is a story about  following your passions and imagining where that path could lead.

I enjoyed reading this book, because it reminded me of my days in high school.  While some of the issues are different today than when I attended high school, the characters, their experiences, and ways of handling issues rang true.

I recommend this book to high school teens and older.  I think it is also appropriate reading for parents, teachers and other adults who have contact with teens.  The author seems to have the pulse on the lifestyle of current teens.  The author gives readers fertile grounds for reflection, regardless of the readers age or current role in life.

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