Monday, July 10, 2017

"Over and Out, Briggs Baby" • The Lake Effect


The Lake Effect is about Briggs Henry, who is ready to leave behind his ex and his complicated family for a summer job working as a personal assistant for an old lady who lives by Lake Michigan and its miles of sandy beaches. But his summer is nothing quite like he expects - his boss is an eccentric lady who likes going to funerals, he lives next door to the mysterious Abigail and he becomes a part of the Lake Michigan community with new friends-turned-enemies-turned-friends. In the middle of all this tumult, Briggs might just learn that life isn't always about winning, following the 'right' path and things going according to plan.

The Lake Effect book cover
Plot? If you're into young adult reads that tackle the magical, life-changing experience of summers, well, The Lake Effect may well be a novel you'll be interested in. It starts off fairly simple with Briggs snagging a job serving as a personal assistant to an elderly woman who lives right on Lake Michigan - a job that puts him at the beach for the summer. But as he finds himself getting more ingrained in the quirky little community, making friends his own age and learning to work with his boss, Briggs is catapulted into a series of moments that change the way he looks at his future and will unwittingly shift his life as he's known it. It's a slow starter, but with the combination of very short chapters and lots of things going on, it is a pretty quick read.

Characters? Briggs is, well, complicated in the way that most teens are. He has a set of ideals for his life, borne of his parental influence and his own experiences. But he finds those things challenged - both by things that occur over the summer and the people he meets. It was interesting to see how he tried to do the best he could, and how he operated from a place of what he thought was 'right' and how his perspective shifted. I also enjoyed quirky Mrs. B, next-door neighbor Abigail, his best friends, his (very different from each other) parents and the lake gang.

Writing? So easy to read! I flew through the novel. It was really easy to do, especially because the chapters were on the shorter side. (Some chapters were only a page long, if you can believe it!). 

Overall? Even though I was unsure how I'd feel about The Lake Effect initially, I wound up liking it. It was the same sort of quirky I remembered Love and Other Foreign Words being, which was a bonus. I also quite liked how it was about a teen who was going through a summer that changed the way he saw things and that it ends with a fairly open ending. My only reservations are: might be too quirky for some readers, a slightly underdevelopment of certain secondary characters, the brevity might not work for all readers and it doesn't have a solid ending might not work for every reader. But if the synopsis interests you, I'd certainly recommend you check this out!



The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan
Publisher: Dial Books | Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Source: Hardcover from the publisher (Thanks!)

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