Tales from Foster High
March 1, 2014
"Review from Pat Henshaw" By The Romance Reviews 2 years ago
You'd think with only five months left before graduation that Foster High and its senior class would only have smooth sailing. If you really thought so, you haven't been following John Goode's series at all or you haven't been in high school for a very long time.
The previous book in the series, End of the Innocence, brought the tales of Foster Texas High School through the first half of senior year when something cataclysmic occurred, an event so horrific that it reverberated through the tiny town of Foster.
Be warned: To get the most enjoyment out of this two-book look at Foster High's senior year, it's imperative to read the the books in order. Although readers will be brought up to date at the beginning of 151 DAYS, John Goode is making an incredibly important point in these books, a point that is blunted if one reads this book first and then decides to read the previous one.
The event from End of the Innocence is still on everyone's mind as the second half of senior year begins. And this tragedy is causing everyone to look inward.
Brainy Kyle Stilleno and baseball star Brad Graymark are still together, and Foster High's principal still resents their abnormal relationship being accepted by so many students, faculty, parents, and residents of Foster. The stir that Kyle and Brad made coming together has affected more than just the students, and past sins, especially the long ago death of a prominent citizen's son by a hit-and-run driver, are being dug up to join the pall that's fallen over the town from recent events.
If all of this sounds just a little oblique and hazy, it's because I'd hate to spoil the shock value of the previous book which permeates and centers this book. End of the Innocence is one of those books that will live in readers' minds if they are blindsided by the horrible event, and will be blunted and robbed of its power if readers know what happens in advance.
So as the snippy Robbie, the town's blatantly gay character, would say, "Suck it up and read Innocence already." If you read both books, I can promise you laughter, sorrow, and at the end elation. As a bonus there are no sex scenes, so readers can give this to teens and adults to enjoy.
What I can tell you is that John Goode's stories are grounded in today's high school experiences and aren't farfetched at all, which make them even more gritty. Fortunately, however, the author is an optimist and not a pessimist. His message is one of hope and happiness. He sees the next generation not in terms of doom and gloom, but in terms of righting past wrongs and building a better world.
As far as 151 DAYS is concerned, he ties up the series on a positive note even though the steps leading up to the good news is rocky. It's a journey well worth taking.