Kirsten B. Feldman’s On the Way to Everywhere is the latest Goodreads giveaway novel that I read. Here is the extended review.
On the Way to Everywhere
By Kirsten B. Feldman
Published by CreateSpace Publishing, 2014
Harry Kavanaugh is the tall red-haired, dread-locked protagonist of this snarky coming-of-age novel. While she is officially named Henrietta, she has always gone by her nickname, Harry like the magical character, Harry Potter. She feels anything but (magical) as she spends her days at an elite all-girls school in Maryland on the outskirts of Washington D.C.
Feeling she doesn’t fit in Barfmore, her own name for the eating disorder-ridden school Boltmore, Harry decides she wants out, out of the stifling atmosphere of this school with the cliques of rich girls like her half-sister Felicity. It could be said that Harry is the antithesis of Felicity. Harry decides she’d rather go to the local public high school like her best friend William. She has it all planned out, too. Her plan is simple: flunk out! By not doing the work in her classes from Algebra I to health to physical education, and as her detentions and pink slips mount, she may just achieve her wish.
That is until she meets Frannie, her new best friend, and discovers running. Frannie, short for Frances Bean (the same as Kurt Cobain’s daughter because Harry is a devoted Kurt Cobain fan), is adopted by Harry, or perhaps it is the other way around (Frannie really adopts Harry). Frannie is a dog, but not just a dog. She’s a dog that rivals Harry in size so that it’s a perfect match.
Once Harry discovers running because of her sudden involvement in cross country (her physical education requirement), there is a slow turnaround in her attitude. She spends more and more time running, sometimes on the local indoor track, but mostly with Frannie through the hills and valleys of Boltmore.
Along the way, Harry discovers some of her classes are not too bad, and in fact downright enjoyable; she slowly makes some new friends, too, as she tries to battle back from the brink of her intentional sabotage. Her brother Jeremy gives her some incentive as does William, who becomes her math tutor. Even her mother Imogene Gayle becomes more nurturing and supportive. But, at this late date, can Harry reverse the process she started? Can she dig herself out of this deep hole she’s purposely created?
Told from Harry’s (often internal) perspective, her story is full of snarkiness and black humor. She invites the reader to come along as she pokes fun at her classmates, at her mother, and, mostly, at herself. It is a realistic, if snarky, peek into an elite high school from an iconoclastic student, who really has brains and talents if only she will allow herself to show them. Harry is unique and abrasive, but ultimately truly likeable as she transforms herself on the road to everywhere.
Overall, this is a fun read especially with the unexpected twist. The novel contains very few, if any, of the ubiquitous What-the-tuck trends, too. This is the second novel by this author and I look forward in the near future to checking out her first one, No Alligators in Sight.