Saturday, February 06, 2021

Keep My Heart in San Francisco

Coombs, Amelia Diane. Keep My Heart in San Francisco
Published July 14th 2020 by Simon Pulse
Ohio Digital Library Copy

Chuck (aka Caroline) doesn't mind working at her father's bowling alley, Bigmouth's, until it cuts into her spring break plans to do some serious vintage thrifting and visit the fashion design school she would like to attend for college. Unfortunately, the business is in big trouble monetarily, and her father has just lost his last employee. He owes $8,000 in order to keep up the lease, but can't even cover $40 worth of free games for a 300 score. Chuck runs into Beckett, who used to be her best friend, and he has an idea: he's been watching people running hustles at bowling alleys, and thinks that he and Chuck can make the money fast. There's a lot of serious history with Beckett. Chuck suffers from depression, and sees a therapist and takes medication for it, because of her mother's history with similar issues that led to her death. Beckett had talked about it with friends, so Chuck stopped hanging out with him. If the bowling alley folds, Chuck and her dad will have to move from San Francisco to Arizona, which is just unacceptable to her. Can she spend her spring break hustling at the bowling alleys, sell some repaired vintage clothes on Etsy, and manage to keep the bowling alley going? 
Strengths: I love San Francisco, vintage fashion, and bowling, so this was a lot of fun. Was it within the realm of possibility that Chuck and Beckett could earn $8,000 in ten days? Not really, and that didn't address the real problems with Bigmouth's, but that's fine. I appreciated most of all that Chuck had some trauma concerning her mother's illness and death, and was working through her own mental health issues, but did so in a realistic, productive way. Those problems weren't the focus of the story, but just an integral part of her character. Well done. 
Weaknesses: There are a lot of casual f-bombs all over the place. 
What I really think: Too Young Adult for my students, but a fun read for me! The comparisons to Dessen, Colasanti, and West are apt. Love the cover. 

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