The summer of 1982 in Whitiker County in Southwest Georgia was another hot and dry season.
The best friends, Ricky, Jimmy, and Buck, are ready to graduate from high school and step into adulthood. But when the lovely Jenny catches both Jimmy and Buck’s eye, Ricky has a bad feeling about the whole thing. Soon, Ricky’s fears come true. Madding’s storytelling is entertaining, and readers will laugh out loud at the boys’ adventures and sympathize with their heartbreaks and failures. As enjoyable as all the characters may be, the standout character of the book is Ricky, whose grounded, sensible nature will have readers rooting for him throughout.
While the storyline is intriguing, what sets this novel apart is how beautifully Madding explores the boys’ vulnerabilities, hopes, and passions while delving into themes of love, young adult drama, friendship, mistakes, and regrets.
Setting his tale against the quaint backdrop of the forgotten South of the 1980s, Madding skillfully weaves together multiple story strands to create a poignant coming-of-age tale. This is a page-turner.