April’s Heart

Young Adult

** Warning: Although this book’s genre is YA, because of extensive sex, drinking and drug use with early adolescents, the content may not be suitable for younger adults.**

September, 1977 is April Schweiter’s 13th birthday and the beginning of her eighth grade year.  Life, school and boys - especially Mitchell Hudgins - offer a world of excitement she is more than ready for.  From parties to cheerleading, April finds herself loved by everyone, except her mother.  But, finding ways around her volatile parent, April learns the lessons of life.  Her days are filled with fun and most important, love.  

April and Mitchell are the “it” couple throughout Jr. High and High School.  Growing and stumbling, breaking up and coming together, all while building a bond no one can break.  At least they think so - until graduation and college finds them states away and living different lives.  But, can a love that started so young endure?

“April’s Heart” follows the journey of one girl from puberty to adulthood.  It is lovingly written and touchingly reminiscent of all the pains and joys each of us experience.  It often reads more like a journal than a fictional story as each year and its events are catalogued meticulously. Given the length of page time spent on each year, it’s sometimes hard for readers to find a definite overall storyline. The book may have been much stronger if it were condensed and more depth added to the characters. Some word usage and styles also seem out of place in a late 1970’s and early 1980’s setting.  Words such as “groovy” and “neat-o” and styles like tie-dye with peace signs reflect a more sixties feel.  Even so, it is a lovely and nostalgic look at those turbulent years where love is everything and growing up is hard.

Ruth Lynn Ritter