Expected publication: March 20th 2018 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format read: E-Galley via publisher
But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.
Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s actually true to the college experience itself. The feeling of moving away from home and living on your own comes in waves, and anyone who tells you differently, likely had a different and unique experiences. Now, with that being said: onto the review!
Kade introduces us to Caroline Sands, who had trouble fitting in at her high school, following a move. As a result, Caroline made up friends for her mom, largely extrapolated from the old WB show, Felicity.
(Also: It’s at this moment I knew I was officially old. Because Felicity came out when I was in high school.)
When her mom discovers Caroline’s version of the truth, she lets Caroline go to college - with conditions. Caroline has to make friends, and develop a life, otherwise she’ll have to go home. Caroline’s up against a ticking clock….
Kade does plenty well with Finding Felicity, beginning with the fact Caroline feels painfully real. I also had trouble making friends in high school, and compensated by inventing adventures for myself. So I can absolutely relate to Caroline’s feeling of starting off the deception as a means to an end, and then letting it eventually spiral out of hand.
The book also does a nice job of showing how disorientating going to college can be; there isn’t a specific niche for you to fit into when you arrive, so it’s really up to you to find your comfort zone to be what you want to be. That sometimes involves you take the leap and being something very different, and Kade explores that idea very well, with amusing, thoughtful and poignant results.
My one issue with the book, is that none of the characters were especially memorable. Caroline is insecure, but we didn’t feel much about her passions beyond that. There wasn’t any real depth to things that made her tick, her desire to achieve, or even her academic interests. Similarly, her classmates/roommates were all great and had great surface personalities, but there wasn’t anything that would help me remember them a week or a month after reading the book.
My broad interpretation of this lack of personality would be that this is still a journey in the making for Caroline and her friends, and the lack of definition/certainty is a reminder of the fact. That’s why I ultimately think this story should be taken as a snippet of time verses a definitive journey - it gains much more meaning that way.