Review: Harley, Like A Person by Cat Bauer

in a sentence: 14 year old Harley Columba is your average well-liked, smart, and charismatic teen. Until she realizes she is probably adopted, starts drinking and doing drugs, and loses her best friend. Did I mention her home life sucks too?

Harley faces some real struggles in this novel. While some of them might not reach all teens (feeling adopted, physical abuse, etc.), I feel that the emotions and the way she deals with them are very true to the young adult experience. As the adult reader, I could sense things coming, that lying only makes things worse, and all of those words of wisdom that come from making the wrong choices like Harley. She uses art as her escape from the world, and so creates an incredibly healthy and beautiful outlet which sets a great example for young adults struggling with the difficult stuff in life. From the young adult perspective, Harley is someone we can identify with either though personal experience or through someone we know - and that really hits home with the reader.

While I liked the rawness of Harley and the writing, with her struggles, with having shreds of hope for her fall to the ground with yet ANOTHER bad choice. I got pretty bored during the middle of the novel from where she is sidetracked from her main goal from the beginning of finding her real father to where she gets on the bus to NY. Some of the middle of the novel served to show her downward spiral, her relationship with her mother, and the [seemingly pointless] relationship with Mrs. Tuttle, and to help the reader relate to Harley. However, I feel a vast majority of it was a waste of my time, and resulted in a rushed ending when she FINALLY finds her father in New York. The novel builds and builds to a rushed conclusion, which I found to be really disappointing. The conclusion in itself was very realistic and in tune with the rest of the book, but ultimately disappointing from a literary standpoint.

Again - I feel that as far as characters to relate to and readability, the novel is great. She makes bad choices, some good ones, and then more bad ones to create an awful situation for herself that many of us have been in before. The reader hopes for Harley, and walks beside her though her personal struggle which is a microcosm overshadowed by the alcoholic step-dad and crabby mom reality. However, the novel really lacked the necessary literary quality for me because of the drawn out and somewhat plateaued middle of the book and the ending that just fell flat.

Author: Cat Bauer
Title: Harley, Like a Person
Genre: Coming of Age
Publisher: Winslow
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Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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