HomeBest Kids StoriesGoing Places, by Kathryn Berla | Book Review
Going Places by Kathryn Berla Book Review

Going Places, by Kathryn Berla | Book Review

The Children’s Book Review | July 18, 2019

Going PLaces by Kathryn BerlaGoing Places

Written by Kathryn Berla  

Age Range: 13- 18 years

Paperback: 275 pages

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing (March 20, 2018)

ISBN: 9781944995539

What to expect: Coming-of-age; Friendship; Military Families; Mystery; Intergenerational Connections

People could tell from a young age that Hudson Wheeler was going places. However, when Hudson was ten, his dad was killed on the battlefield in Iraq. After that, he gradually lost confidence and became less interested in school. By his senior year, he has decided that college is not for him. His plans for the year include making money without working too much, writing a graphic novel, and improving his (basically non-existent) track record with the opposite sex. He decides that homeschooling is the easiest path to graduation, and his mom reluctantly agrees, except that she makes him take PE and AP Art at the high school so that he will still have some degree of social interaction and physical activity. To maximize his chances of meeting his first girlfriend, Hudson chooses a yoga class where he indeed discovers a beautiful girl. Unfortunately, his new crush happens to be head-over-heels in love with another guy, so Hudson seems relegated to be “just friends,” despite his blind infatuation.

Hudson also has a couple of business ventures in the works. “Distress Dial” is a service for elderly clients occasionally in need of urgent help that does not rise to the level of a 911 emergency. He collects a monthly fee and hopes not to be called too often or at odd hours. Wishful thinking? Absolutely. One of Hudson’s clients is a lonely 90-year-old WWII veteran whose age and traumatic past seem to be taking a toll on his mental health. In the process of responding to his client’s increasingly frequent and sometimes troubling calls, Hudson develops an even stronger desire to help the veteran process the pain of his past and the challenges of his present. Hudson also becomes close friends with the striking, athletic girl who lives across the street from the vet and who eventually agrees to help. As they piece together the mystery of the soldier’s past and sort out their own plans for the future, Hudson experiences the true value of meaningful relationships. This loyal, dependable girl and the initially imposing war hero even teach him a few things about romance.

In this modern coming-of-age story, Kathryn Berla has successfully created appealing characters whose paths cross in unique and compelling ways. Though Hudson starts his senior year without much traditional ambition, he ultimately learns that he can stop living under the crippling weight of others’ expectations. Young adult readers will quickly and easily connect with his challenging circumstances, imperfect relationships and social awkwardness. They will also celebrate as Hudson finally decides that he is indeed “going places.” They may well be inspired to do likewise.

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About the Author

Kathryn Berla likes to write in a variety of genres including light fantasy, contemporary literary fiction, and even horror. She is the author of the young adult novels: 12 Hours in ParadiseDream MeThe House at 758, and Going PlacesThe Kitty Committee is her first novel written for adult readers.
Kathryn grew up in India, Syria, Europe, and Africa. Her love for experiencing new cultures runs deep, and she gives into it whenever she can. She has been an avid movie buff since childhood, and often sees the movie in her head before she writes the book.
Kathryn graduated from the University of California in Berkeley with a degree in English. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Going Places, by Kathryn Berla, was reviewed by Amy Aiken. Discover more books like Going Places by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with , , , and .

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Amy Aiken enjoyed practicing corporate law (really!) for years before she became a mom to two beautiful girls. At that point, she decided that it is much more fun to read and write for kids than for sophisticated investors. She loves reading aloud with her family and traveling, and prefers to do both simultaneously as often as possible. If she could spend the day with any author, it would be Kate DiCamillo, whose writing has magically transformed many a family road trip into a cherished memory-usually with happy tears at the end.

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