Young Adult - Social Issues
128 Pages
Reviewed on 03/21/2024
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Author Biography

Jamie Zerndt is the author of Jerkwater, The Cloud Seeders, The Korean Word For Butterfly, and The Roadrunner Café. His short story "This Jerkwater Life" was recently chosen as an Editor's Pick in Amazon's Kindle Singles store. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his son.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

In AFK, a young adult drama by Jamie Zerndt, Atsuko and Lyric are best friends who love to surf and play video games to keep their minds off their personal issues at home. While Lyric deals with the divorce of his parents and his complicated relationship with his father, Atsuko can't help but worry about her beloved grandmother, who is dying. After stumbling upon an old barn in the woods, Lyric and Atsuko come across their old middle school science teacher, Mr. Ordway, who is trying to save two otters in memory of his deceased son. When the otters somehow escape, Atsuko calls on the governor to try to steer them to their ancestral home at Otter Rock. However, it is the otters who end up rescuing Atsuko. Meanwhile, Lyric and his father have a long-overdue conversation.

AFK is a poignant tale that focuses on themes of loss and grief, and the book brilliantly showcases how friendship makes it easier for people to navigate the unexpected challenges of life. This is a character-driven story about making amends for past mistakes and trying to make the world a better place for everyone to live. Jamie Zerndt has crafted some truly memorable characters who leave their impact on you long after you've finished reading. The author paces the story masterfully with a captivating plot full of drama and intrigue. Atsuko and Lyric's friendship is the narrative anchor of the novel, and their distinctive and well-developed personalities instantly make an impression on the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to fans of coming-of-age stories.