The Gap Year by Sarah Bird explores the last year of high school simultaneously from the view points of the parent and the child. It flips back and forth between Cam Lightsey (the mom) and Aubrey Lightsey (the daughter). I really didn’t enjoy how it flipped back and forth between mother and daughter. It was so jarring and really took away from the momentum of the story. Too much was said twice and it became very repetitive. I really like the concept of seeing the issue of transitioning from child to adult and of preparing to leave home for the first time discussed from two different points of view but in The Gap Year it just doesn’t work and it’s quite irritating.
The plot was really enjoyable. There was certainly enough going on to create drama and keep me interested in the book. The plot is really what made me keep coming back to the book after I took several breaks from it- I really wanted to find out what happened to the characters, what direction their lives would go and how they would feel about it.
The characters are well written and interesting. Even when they were not necessarily doing great things I really liked them and cared about what would happen to them. The characters are very realistic and it seems like Bird devoted a lot of time to developing them- they seem very authentic and solid. Bird gives enough back story and personality to each character that they never feel flat or boring.
The Gap Year is a book with a lot of potential which it unfortunately doesn’t quite live up to. It’s not a bad book, but Bird’s writing style doesn’t seem to fit well with how the book is set up. However, based on the strength of the plot and of the characters I would definitely recommend this book.
I would give this book a 3.5/5- it’s a good, interesting read.