Rock, Peter Klickitat, 229 pages. Amulet Books, 2016. $17.95. Mature Content: PG-13; Language: G; Violence: G.
Audra and Vivian are sisters living with their parents in the suburbs of Portland, OR. Audra is a senior in high school, two years older than Vivian, and has become disenchanted with urban ways of living and modern conveniences. Wanting to get back to a more primeval existence, and partially to impress her new boyfriend, Audra studies wilderness survival techniques, disappearing almost every night, until she runs away for good. Audra has promised to always take care of Vivian, who has an anxiety disorder, so Audra coaxes Vivian away from home with the promise that shortly they can go off and live in the wilderness of Alaska, as humans were meant to, away from workaday life.
This story is told from Vivian’s perspective, which gives a lot of space for the reader to fill in the details of what is happening, and whether things are real or imagined. The powerful influence of disestablishment ideals on teens, the desire to escape one’s parents, and Vivian’s desperation to hold on to Audra are essentially their motivation for running away, and their experiences while on the run do not paint a rosy picture. The spare text leaves much room for the reader to draw one’s own conclusions about the roles of the characters and the meaning of some mysterious messages that speak, somehow, to Vivian.
HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: JA, High School Librarian