The Literary Horizon: Celine

Celine by Brock Cole

“Show a little maturity,” he said, which I’ve doped out to mean: Pass all your courses, avoid detection in all crimes and misdemeanors, don’t get pregnant.

Celine’s father has left her with these instructions. She’s not too worried about the last two, but she’ll fail English unless she rewrites her Catcher in the Rye essay. And she keeps being interrupted, especially by Jake, the neighbor’s boy, who’s been dumped on her for the weekend.

from the publisher’s website

This recommendation comes to me from a fellow Cla(i)re—Claire Zulkey, of the A. V. Club. In a post asking contributors what their favorite young adult book was, Zulkey proposes Celine. I read The Catcher in the Rye over the weekend, and I just know I’m going to link these two books together in my head forever, so there’s no time like now to pick this up.

Brooke at Fifty Books Project hated it, pointing out how mild and predictable it was. Sean Beaudoin at his self-titled site enjoyed it, noting that it doesn’t need a real plot to be engaging. Lynn Freed, writing for The New York Times in 1990, enjoyed Celine’s voice and the nice balance the novel strikes between teenage ennui and sarcasm. And the folks at Publishers’ Weekly enjoyed it too.

Celine was published in 1989.

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