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Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
Unexpected - Faith Sullivan Unexpected was a very intense and personal read for me because, like the protagonist Michelle, I began college just a few weeks before Sep. 11, 2001. I was even accepted at the same school Michelle attends, NYU, and I likely would have chosen it over the college I did go to if I could have afforded it. As it turns out, I’m thankful I was far away from New York on that day, and I’m even more thankful after reading the opening chapters of Unexpected. The first few chapters were harrowing and difficult to read, as I felt like I was right there with Michelle during the confusion and horror of the attacks. Starting college is such a scary, transitional time anyway, and to experience something that alters your worldview and shakes your foundations the way Sep. 11 did, during that already tumultuous time…it changes your life. I thought Faith Sullivan did an amazing job of capturing that.I was amazed that Michelle found the courage to go back to New York after 9/11—I don’t think I could have done that, not even with the encouragement of a sexy, mysterious guy like Michelle’s Connor. The author did a wonderful job of capturing the fragile environment of post-9/11 New York, as well as both Michelle and Connor’s attempts to heal and move on, and their realization that they could never go back to the people they were before the attacks. I also enjoyed the bar setting—Connor owns the bar he inherited from his dad and Michelle waitresses there, coming into contact with an interesting assortment of secondary characters. Finally, I appreciated the fact that the book spans over a year in time. This made the characters’ developing relationships and self-growth more believable, and also made the book feel that much more satisfying.