The Optimistic Decade

The Optimistic Decade

This entertaining and assured debut novel about a utopian summer camp and its charismatic leader asks smart questions about good intentions gone terribly wrong. Framed by the oil shale bust and the real estate boom, by protests against Reagan and against the Gulf War, The Optimistic Decade takes us into the lives of five unforgettable characters and is a sweeping novel abo This entertaining and assured debut novel about a utopian summer camp and its charismatic leader asks smart questions...

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Title:The Optimistic Decade
Author:Heather Abel
Rating:
Genres:Fiction
ISBN:The Optimistic Decade
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:368 pages pages

The Optimistic Decade Reviews

  • Margo Littell
    Jul 16, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

  • Lila
    Apr 15, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

    Almost done, can't put this book down!! ...

    A coming of age story built around a group of high school and college age kids and a summer camp unlike any other. While the kids work towards a sort of Utopia, the outside world of oil and mines, war in the middle east and general apathy is closing in. A strong first novel. full di...

    This is a brilliant book. It is an incredible, probing story following five characters through the boom and bust era of the Reagan and Bush years. It's about idealism and political activism and everything we need to read about right now. ...

  • Karlan
    Jan 03, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

  • Karen
    Jul 25, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

  • BJ
    Apr 27, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

    Almost done, can't put this book down!! ...

    A coming of age story built around a group of high school and college age kids and a summer camp unlike any other. While the kids work towards a sort of Utopia, the outside world of oil and mines, war in the middle east and general apathy is closing in. A strong first novel. full di...

    This is a brilliant book. It is an incredible, probing story following five characters through the boom and bust era of the Reagan and Bush years. It's about idealism and political activism and everything we need to read about right now. ...

    A young man grieving the loss of his father searches for direction in his life. Caleb happens upon a bit of land where he feels a deep peace, and he wants to share it. He opens a summer camp for youth, where he teaches about the land and shares his philosophy. He changes lives, and he ...

    Good novel about idealism, protests, and the success or futility of it all depending upon the person and his/her ability to weather disappointment in others and society in general. ...

    So I had the opportunity through Netgalley to read this book before it is released today, May 1. I promised them a fair review, so here you go. The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a book about an extended family of radical American liberals. (We assume the May 1 publication dat...

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    May 27, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

  • Bookish
    Mar 01, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

    Almost done, can't put this book down!! ...

    A coming of age story built around a group of high school and college age kids and a summer camp unlike any other. While the kids work towards a sort of Utopia, the outside world of oil and mines, war in the middle east and general apathy is closing in. A strong first novel. full di...

    This is a brilliant book. It is an incredible, probing story following five characters through the boom and bust era of the Reagan and Bush years. It's about idealism and political activism and everything we need to read about right now. ...

    A young man grieving the loss of his father searches for direction in his life. Caleb happens upon a bit of land where he feels a deep peace, and he wants to share it. He opens a summer camp for youth, where he teaches about the land and shares his philosophy. He changes lives, and he ...

  • Jennifer
    Jul 23, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

  • Sue Jackson
    May 09, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

  • Debbie
    May 06, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

  • Julie
    May 24, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

  • Corey Farrenkopf
    Sep 22, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

  • Jacqueline
    May 12, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

  • Taylortbush
    Jun 05, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

    Almost done, can't put this book down!! ...

    A coming of age story built around a group of high school and college age kids and a summer camp unlike any other. While the kids work towards a sort of Utopia, the outside world of oil and mines, war in the middle east and general apathy is closing in. A strong first novel. full di...

    This is a brilliant book. It is an incredible, probing story following five characters through the boom and bust era of the Reagan and Bush years. It's about idealism and political activism and everything we need to read about right now. ...

    A young man grieving the loss of his father searches for direction in his life. Caleb happens upon a bit of land where he feels a deep peace, and he wants to share it. He opens a summer camp for youth, where he teaches about the land and shares his philosophy. He changes lives, and he ...

    Good novel about idealism, protests, and the success or futility of it all depending upon the person and his/her ability to weather disappointment in others and society in general. ...

    So I had the opportunity through Netgalley to read this book before it is released today, May 1. I promised them a fair review, so here you go. The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a book about an extended family of radical American liberals. (We assume the May 1 publication dat...

    I honestly don?t even know where to begin with this book. It?s god awful. I wanted so badly to like it just like I know this book wanted to be good, but it severely misses the mark. Everything about the book is just so trite. Characters are cookie-cutter, rationales and motivati...

  • Michelle Nijhuis
    May 06, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

  • Mandi Schneck
    May 08, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

  • Kim
    May 17, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

    Almost done, can't put this book down!! ...

    A coming of age story built around a group of high school and college age kids and a summer camp unlike any other. While the kids work towards a sort of Utopia, the outside world of oil and mines, war in the middle east and general apathy is closing in. A strong first novel. full di...

    This is a brilliant book. It is an incredible, probing story following five characters through the boom and bust era of the Reagan and Bush years. It's about idealism and political activism and everything we need to read about right now. ...

    A young man grieving the loss of his father searches for direction in his life. Caleb happens upon a bit of land where he feels a deep peace, and he wants to share it. He opens a summer camp for youth, where he teaches about the land and shares his philosophy. He changes lives, and he ...

    Good novel about idealism, protests, and the success or futility of it all depending upon the person and his/her ability to weather disappointment in others and society in general. ...

    So I had the opportunity through Netgalley to read this book before it is released today, May 1. I promised them a fair review, so here you go. The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a book about an extended family of radical American liberals. (We assume the May 1 publication dat...

    I honestly don?t even know where to begin with this book. It?s god awful. I wanted so badly to like it just like I know this book wanted to be good, but it severely misses the mark. Everything about the book is just so trite. Characters are cookie-cutter, rationales and motivati...

    The ?Optimistic Decade? when so many thought they could effectuate change by writing and talking and discussing. This was the time of self-discovery by the young while the adults were busy elsewhere. Behind all this optimism the large corporations fed the marginalized promises of m...

  • Rachel Stansel
    Apr 12, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

    Almost done, can't put this book down!! ...

    A coming of age story built around a group of high school and college age kids and a summer camp unlike any other. While the kids work towards a sort of Utopia, the outside world of oil and mines, war in the middle east and general apathy is closing in. A strong first novel. full di...

  • Kate Olson
    May 02, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

  • nikkia neil
    May 11, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

  • Jessica
    May 05, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

    Almost done, can't put this book down!! ...

  • Nancy Mijangos
    Mar 11, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

    Almost done, can't put this book down!! ...

    A coming of age story built around a group of high school and college age kids and a summer camp unlike any other. While the kids work towards a sort of Utopia, the outside world of oil and mines, war in the middle east and general apathy is closing in. A strong first novel. full di...

    This is a brilliant book. It is an incredible, probing story following five characters through the boom and bust era of the Reagan and Bush years. It's about idealism and political activism and everything we need to read about right now. ...

    A young man grieving the loss of his father searches for direction in his life. Caleb happens upon a bit of land where he feels a deep peace, and he wants to share it. He opens a summer camp for youth, where he teaches about the land and shares his philosophy. He changes lives, and he ...

    Good novel about idealism, protests, and the success or futility of it all depending upon the person and his/her ability to weather disappointment in others and society in general. ...

  • John C
    Jan 31, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

  • Tracy (The Pages In-Between)
    May 29, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

  • Cody | codysbookshelf
    Apr 05, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

  • Claire
    Jul 24, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

    Almost done, can't put this book down!! ...

    A coming of age story built around a group of high school and college age kids and a summer camp unlike any other. While the kids work towards a sort of Utopia, the outside world of oil and mines, war in the middle east and general apathy is closing in. A strong first novel. full di...

    This is a brilliant book. It is an incredible, probing story following five characters through the boom and bust era of the Reagan and Bush years. It's about idealism and political activism and everything we need to read about right now. ...

    A young man grieving the loss of his father searches for direction in his life. Caleb happens upon a bit of land where he feels a deep peace, and he wants to share it. He opens a summer camp for youth, where he teaches about the land and shares his philosophy. He changes lives, and he ...

    Good novel about idealism, protests, and the success or futility of it all depending upon the person and his/her ability to weather disappointment in others and society in general. ...

    So I had the opportunity through Netgalley to read this book before it is released today, May 1. I promised them a fair review, so here you go. The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a book about an extended family of radical American liberals. (We assume the May 1 publication dat...

    I honestly don?t even know where to begin with this book. It?s god awful. I wanted so badly to like it just like I know this book wanted to be good, but it severely misses the mark. Everything about the book is just so trite. Characters are cookie-cutter, rationales and motivati...

    The ?Optimistic Decade? when so many thought they could effectuate change by writing and talking and discussing. This was the time of self-discovery by the young while the adults were busy elsewhere. Behind all this optimism the large corporations fed the marginalized promises of m...

    About a 3.5. The setting was perfect, having just returned from a camping trip in the Colorado Rockies. I didn't find that the author truly captured the splendor of the outdoors in her book, though...she frequently described the characters' feelings about the camp and the beauty surrou...

  • Erin White
    Feb 04, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

  • Ryan
    Apr 02, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...

    I enjoyed this thoughtful novel about different ways to make a difference, set in the early 1990's in western Colorado, after the oil shale bust. Read my full review and interview with the author: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2018/0... ...

    ummm... okay. so, my feelings about this novel seem to be running counter to the majority. while i appreciated abel's writing, the story just didn't work for me. i found the characters didn't develop well enough, and there was a depth to it all that felt lacking. i am drawn to stories ...

    This coming of age story has an unusual setting, interesting characters and skillful writing. A ranch for young campers in a hot, dry area of the Colorado mountains is almost a living character. The shy, inexperienced 19 year old camper who finds love is believably portrayed. The char...

    When Caleb stumbles upon a tough and beautiful ranch in Colorado, he knows it?s the perfect place to build the idealistic camp he?s been dreaming of. He twists the truth to buy the land, but along the way he constructs a new origin story for how the camp--which he calls Llamalo--ca...

    This is a very complex novel with interconnecting themes. It raises many questions about the relationships between self, environment, and community, how we learn to live meaningful, fulfilling lives as adults, and how we can find a balance between optimism and realism -- rather than be...

    Beautifully captures the contradictions of a place I lived in for a long time, and still love. Highly recommended. ...

    Thank you Algonquin Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Below is my honest review, and all opinions are my own. I rate this book a 4 out 5 Stars. This was an artfully written coming of age story, and it was a fantastic way to kick off my Summer reading. Llamalo was essentia...

    If you?re looking for a timely novel, set in the high desert of Colorado, with fully realized characters who you?ll love then hate then love again, check out The Optimistic Decade. There's a good dose of cult/communal living, contemplation of love in its many forms, and a sense of ...

    I know. I know. You are looking at the early reviews of this book on this page, and most of them are overwhelmingly positive. And then here I come, the Naysayer, the Grump, the Whiny Whiner Who Whines. . . And I get it. From an objective standpoint, I can see what people liked abou...

    Thanks Algonquin Books and netgalley for this ARC. The 80's, summer camp, overbearing radial parents, and weird take on the world marching orders makes this a comical coming of age nutter. ...

    It is difficult to describe this book. It is a coming-of-age story (sort of), a story about love in all its many forms (sort of), and a story of hope even during times of despair (sort of). It is not always clear where the author is going with this story and the characters are quirky b...

    The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family'...

    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for the free copy. Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade transports readers back into the era of Reagan and Bush Sr., showing how a varied cast of characters who are used to c...

  • Helen Fernandez
    Jan 31, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

  • Laura
    Jan 31, 2018

    ?Politics was aesthetics, and everything was aesthetics, really, if you thought about it. A man in a turban and white tunic glided by on roller skates. A woman in a wheelchair held the leashes of two dogs that pulled her along the path, American flags waving from the back of her chai...

    This is one of the best books I?ve read in a very long time. It?s about all sorts of interesting and complex ideas (failed utopia, 80s oil boom and bust, radicalism and its discontents) yet somehow written in incredibly tender and funny and lovely prose. The characters are flawed a...

    Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! Colorado desert + political idealism + coming of age + hippie summer camp = a wonderfully unique story that anyone who has ever tried to change the world will enjoy. I adore the concept of all of us having an metaphorical optimistic deca...

    Set in the American West in the 1990s, this is a look at idealism, activism, and the feeling that you may not really be making a difference in the world. It?s been compared to The Interestings a lot, and I can see why people would make that comparison. I felt, however, that story was...

    This book was aiite. It almost reminded me exactly of The Interestings, which I finished not too long ago and enjoyed quite a bit (I actually read that one feverishly, on a long 11 hour plane ride, and closed my Kindle with my eyes sore and my head aching from a book hangover). Anyway,...

    This is a brilliant and skillful debut novel. Its intimately developed and humane characters, and ageless themes (youth and loss, false dichotemies, and flawed leaders, among others) allow a piece set in the 1980s to transcent its period and feel startlingly relvant in 2018. Heather Ab...

    An amazing book. Just what I needed to read lately. One of the best books I have read in years. I loved the quirky family and strong sense of place. As a SOCAL native myself, I enjoyed the references to Santa Monica and the Southwest. A must read for anyone. ...

    THE book for our crazy times. It grapples seriously with the question: how do you lead a moral life in a world full of lies and cynicism? The author doesn't give in to despair. Nor does she sugarcoat. The characters are real, complex, flawed. I miss them already. ...