February 01, 2017

Review: A Season for Fireflies by Rebecca Maizel

Title: A Season for Fireflies
Author: Rebecca Maizel
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: June 28, 2016
Hardcover: 256 pgs

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A year ago, Penny Berne was the star of her high school’s theater department, surrounded by a group of misfit friends and falling in love for the first time. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, her new best friend is the most popular girl in school, and her first love, Wes, ignores her. Penny is revered and hated. Then, in a flash, a near-fatal lightning strike leaves Penny with no memory of the past year—or how she went from drama nerd to queen bee. As a record number of fireflies light up her town and her life, Penny realizes she may be able to make things right again—and that even if she can’t change the past, she can learn to see the magic where she never could before.

This novel was definitely a bit young for me (not that I'm an old lady or anything!) but its youth was exactly what made me fall in love with it. It brought me right back to my high school days and it made me nostalgic for the sheer number of emotions teenage girls can go through.

A Season for Fireflies has a very basic story on top. A girl has one life. She gets struck by lightning, loses her memory, and ends up with a very different life. It seems simple, right? But there is oh, so much more. The real story behind this book has more to do with life decisions, our perceptions of others, and whether we have any control over our lives at all.

Let's start with the first: Life Decisions. Have you ever stopped and looked back at your life and wondered how different everything would be if you had just gone right instead of left? If you had moved from one city to another? If you had waited until a certain age to experience certain things? That's what this book reminded me of. Penny, our main character, doesn't really have a choice in getting struck by lightning. But once she regains her memories, she can go back and look at all the places her life would have went differently if she had never been struck. She's been granted a gift, in my opinion, of being able to see two totally different sides of her life being played out, and she can learn from both of them.

Perceptions of Others: What I love about the story is that just like Penny, we have different friends in this book as well. In the beginning, we love Penny's friends -- her drama geeks who adore theatre and create memories with her. In the middle, we love Penny's new friends -- the ones she makes after the lightning strikes. Penny befriends the popular kids; the ones you would have never in a million years imagined she'd be friends with. The ones we thought we knew but really had no clue about. And by the end of the story, all you want is for Penny to find a way to reconcile both sets of her friends. To show all of them that not everyone is who they seem.

And finally: Control Over Our Lives. Can we control who we love? Can we control whether we get struck by lightning tomorrow? Can we have a second chance to do it all over? The quick answer is "no". And I think the overall point is that no matter what happens, you have to take life by the horns and live it every second of every day. Don't wait for someone to push you. Don't wait for lightning to strike in order to see what's in front of your face right now. Don't wait for fireflies to literally take over your entire town before you wake up :)

I really enjoyed this book and I hope you do too!

4 out of 5 stars!

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