ages: 14 and up
grades: 8 and up
on sale: now
copy from: Barnes and Noble
title: A Separate Peace
author: John Knowles
"Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world."
When books are assigned for school readings, all my classmates automatically groan. Throughout the duration of reading it, they will constantly complain about how boring and useless it is, how crappy the book is. However, as I enjoy books, school reading is like a gift.
I'm a writer, and I'm currently planning out a novel set in England. Naturally, discovering that this book is set in England (close to the time period I'm writing in as well!) piqued my interest. The story is about boys, at an all-boys school. This is rare, as most young adult novels are written about girls.
At first, it may seem like a boring book, with over five pages of description about the school. But the more further it goes, the more complex the story is. It's not immediately exciting, or strikingly provoking. It's that hidden kind of profoundness, that deep and sensual type of wisdom. If you've read it, Lord of the Flies seems similar to this one. The psychology of the friendship between these two unlikely protagonists, and how it affects the story, is very...unspoken. It's not a story that's told, it's a story that's understood.
My favourite quote (a theme)
"Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence" (Knowles, 14)
My classmates were shocked when I defended this book, when I told them it was great and I loved it. I recommend it to those who are willing to read through it.