Girl + Book: The Crew by Michael Mohr

Young adult fiction continues to become one of the most popular genres – mostly for adults. Join us each issue to find your next YA read.

The Crew by Michael Mohr offers a gripping glimpse into the tumultuous world of adolescence, rebellion, and the allure of punk rock culture. Set in Southern California in 2000, the novel follows Jack Donnigan, a sheltered 16-year-old sophomore at St. Andy’s Prep, as he finds himself drawn into the renegade punk rock clique known as The Crew.

Led by the charismatic and cunning Cannonball, The Crew provides Jack with a taste of freedom and adventure that he has never experienced before. However, Jack’s newfound sense of independence soon leads to conflicts within the group, particularly when he becomes romantically involved with Sarah, Cannonball’s chosen girl.

As Jack’s rebellion against authority escalates, tensions rise both within The Crew and at St. Andy’s Prep. The faculty, determined to dismantle the group’s influence on campus, target Jack as the perceived leader, setting off a chain of events that will test his loyalty, courage, and resilience.

Through Jack’s journey of self-discovery, Mohr expertly captures the spirit of the late nineties punk rock scene, complete with its anarchic ethos, rebellious spirit, and wild excesses. The novel’s fast-paced narrative and authentic portrayal of teenage angst make it a compelling and immersive read from start to finish.

With its richly drawn characters, evocative setting, and poignant exploration of themes such as friendship, identity, and the search for belonging, “The Crew” is a standout coming-of-age story that will resonate with readers of all ages. Mohr’s vivid prose and keen insight into the human condition make this novel a must-read for anyone who has ever felt the pull of rebellion or the intoxicating allure of youthful freedom. Highly recommended.

The Take-Over Friend

By Carol Dines

On the second day of ninth grade, introverted Frances meets Sonja, a witty and outgoing newcomer recently moved from France, and the girls become instant soulmates. The two teens are euphoric about their blossoming relationship, relishing a depth of understanding for each other they’ve never experienced with anyone else. Frances is charmed by Sonja’s energy and worldliness, while Sonja adores Frances’s sense of calm and dependability. She’s also taken with Frances’s close-knit family, especially her older brother, Will. Led by Sonja, the girls declare their goal to become “visible” at their high school, dubbing themselves “The Poets” and rallying their classmates to enter the homecoming parade with a poetry-mobile built from Frances’s father’s old band bus.

But as their friendship grows, so do the expectations. Family crises impact both girls—Sonja’s parents are caught in a bitter divorce, and Frances’s father suffers from bipolar disorder. When Sonja’s mother attempts suicide, Sonja temporarily moves in with Frances and her family. Sonja’s dominating personality begins to overwhelm Frances, causing her to doubt herself and her own talents. And when Sonja’s infatuation with Will becomes obsessive, Frances feels manipulated and attempts to set some boundaries. For Sonja, there is no middle ground, and she sees Frances’ efforts to regain her independence as the ultimate betrayal.

Article originally Published in the March / April / May 2024 Issue: Indie in Bloom.

Continue Reading.