The Changing Season: Steven Manchester
Actions speak louder than words and often-young adults, teens and even adults to not consider the consequences of the actions when angered, enraged or debating whether to have a conflict with another person. Within this complex novel the author brings to light what happens within a small town community when three teens are about to graduate high school, attend graduation parties and have to deal with their upcoming futures and find it hard to deal with some issues in the present.
Billy, Charlie and Mark are childhood friends and have been through a lot together. Each one hoping for a bright future, each one deliberating it together and on their own. As the last day comes upon them their moods are up, their attitudes positive but something would change. Childhood pranks aside, moments of fun filled days hoping to come but each one of these teens were battling with choices that they would have to make, decisions that would predict their future and one would make one that would alter not only his fate but that of two others.
Dating is a big issue within this novel as well as graduation, summer jobs and hopes for the future as we fast- forward to the final graduation party and the end result. If an animal can guide you and be your conscience, Jimmy was more than that to Billy. You can feel the love both had for each other, the sadness in Jimmy’s actions and eyes when left without his best friend and the changes within both of them as Jimmy ages and Billy comes into his own.
In the world we live in today teens, young adults and older teens often put their hand out and things are given to them without any thought of working or getting what they need on their own. Billy and his sister Sophie are not products of an affluent family and everything they want including the beat up Honda he drives, college tuition, gas and food money have to be earned. Sophie we will learn is harboring a secret when revealed to Billy changes his perspective on life, her and hopefully will force her to face a reality that might hinder her success. Billy learns from his father’s teachings and his mother’s work ethic that he needs to not only get a summer job to help pay for college in the fall but he needs to understand that working for it will be the only way to pave your success. But, Billy has no idea of what the future holds and no idea about where he wants to focus his energies until his father gets him the job you might say not of his dreams at the animal shelter working for a wonderful woman named Arlene. Sometimes there is an instant connection and when Billy arrives for his interview he is hired on the spot. Just his actions, words and the vibes he gives out lets Arlene know that she has someone that loves animals and she is lucky to have by her side.
Things are about to change on the night of the last graduation party as Charlie catches wind of what he thinks is happening between his girlfriend Bianca and a young teen named Dalton. A young girl named Vicki who won his heart from the moment he laid eyes on her distracted Billy. A chance meeting with solidifies their relationship but not everything is what it seems and although they seemed like a perfect fit don’t let appearances fool you. Their relationship seems special as does Billy’s with the amazing animals at the shelter as he learns how to groom them, help with inoculations, clean the kennels and become part of the team. Life changes within this brief summer season as he begins to mature, understand responsibility and bonds with Arlene who turns out to be more than just someone who employed him. Friendships are tested and lives are changed when Charlie becomes enraged at this final party and goes after Dalton and the end result is tragic. But, instead of owning up to what caused the fatal accident he does what so many others might do hides, pretends it might go away and veers away from his friends. Both Mark and Billy are concerned about Charlie’s strange behavior and the lack of interest his mother shows might account for why he decides to keep silent not realizing he has two amazing friends on his side.
A simple conversation with Vicki and Billy learns her relationship to Dalton and his perspective changes but should he tell her the truth? Fragile from a incident from her past, which she shares with Billy and too upset to deal with anything about Dalton, just when he is about to come clean she refuses to listen. Is he guilty of betraying her? Should he have pushed more and told her the truth?
At the start of this novel Billy is awarded a 500-dollar scholarship for writing an essay about his grandfather. The essay is compelling, thought provoking and as within this novel and his speech elicits a myriad of emotions within Billy and the reader. The speech he gave is perfect on the heels of the graduation speech a guest speaker gave on how most do not realize that they are living as we are today in a Me world. Money is great to pay your bills but as we listen to Billy’s speech we learn there is more than the almighty dollar in life and these simple words encompass it all: give more than we take. As Billy becomes more involved in the Four Paws Animal shelter, meets the animals he realizes sometimes too late the affect it has on Jimmy his four-legged best friend who is definitely one of the most vital and important characters in this novel. You might even think that he might speak to Jimmy which he does when through his motions, actions and emotions that are expressed and vividly described by the author.
How can you ask forgiveness when you cannot forgive yourself or face what you have done? Billy is tormented by his knowledge of what Charlie has done and the fact that he promised to keep silent becomes difficult when the police seek him out for questioning. Not sure that it was really an accident and worried about what Vicki and her family will say or do will Billy come clean and do the right thing and tell them the truth about Dalton Noble’s death? As he becomes more tormented and upset he manages to push this aside as he helps Arlene deal with adoptions, finally focusing on what he thinks he might want to do with his life and hoping that everything will pan out the right way. When Mark and Billy realize that their friendship has taken its toll not only because he is now concentrating on Vicki and their future but what Charlie did, will they come together when Mark relates that he knows.
A powerful story and a community ripped apart because someone made the wrong decision, did not think before going after someone when people do not realize that a car is a powerful weapon just like a gun. Charlie faces many decisions and one might surprise readers if he takes the easy way out. Will he finally confess and own up to his actions? Will Vicki understand why Billy held back the truth? Will his parents stand by him and what will happen to Jimmy when he goes off to school and let’s not forget Mrs. Pringle his evil cat. The animals at the shelter play an important role in his life and his decisions. Arlene provides a support that he does not always get at home. His mother works for Nicky at his pizza shop and you have to love her she is warm, tough and definitely on his side. His father presents a figure who is determined to teach his son the value of the dollar and the importance of earning it on your own. Life changes during this summer as this season of change has many multiple meanings not just the weather as three teens learn what happens in the short span of a summer vacation when their lives intertwine, separate and change as the wind blows, the leaves begin to turn colors and the end result if A season of life changes brilliantly written by author Steven Manchester. Loyalties are tested, family love and values defined, a sister who seems to be losing her way, futures on the cusp of taking different turns and three teens who learn the true meaning of friendship, love and honesty. This is a powerful story that everyone can learn from. Actions speak louder than words: Before you decide to do something think about the end result!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews: MJ Magazine
Since Jimmy loves steak we will give this book FIVE Large RIBEYES FOR JIMMY!