Review: Turning 17 (Turning 16 #2) by Perie Wolford

Sam is turning 17 this year and he is being pushed towards adulthood too fast. He has a whole bunch of grown-up problems on his hands now. Like how to make a distant relationship with your boyfriend work? Or how to stop yourself from cheating on your boyfriend with a hot friend who wants to be more than friends? Or how to disattach yourself from your parents and follow your dreams independently? But all that is just too much for a seventeen-year-old to handle. So Sam finds himself gravitating towards Eric, a little daredevil who introduces him to fun things, like stealing, lying, drinking, smoking, and having sex. But we know that things like that can lead you into trouble.

Sam doesn't know about that though, and he is headed towards a disaster. Somebody is just gonna have to show him the right way.
Dammit Perie.

So, did I like the first book better? Well, yes and no. I loved it because it told me what I wanted to hear, but does that necessarily make it better? No. Sam has matured, and the style of writing reflects that. It’s tighter and represents the growth in the characters well. It doesn’t completely let go of young Sam, but I can see adult Sam clearly in his reflections.

When I finished Turning 17, my first reaction was the overwhelming urge to breakup with Perie Wolford. Seriously, how could he let this happen?!?!?! Upon reflection though, it’s not Perie’s fault that 17 happened. Becuase, ahhhhh, 17. That awkward no man’s land between the novelty of 16 and the adult reality of 18. So, while the specifics here weren’t (selfishly) what I wanted, the journey was told perfectly.

Sam is escaping for the weekend of his birthday to the mountain resort where he has his part time job with his besties Melissa and Kenan. Picture Dirty Dancing and you’ve got the 80’s movie theme right for this installment. Mitch is away at art school, so a long distance romance is all they have going right now. Sam is saving for film school and work will get him one step closer to his dream profession and to his boyfriend.

Sam figures since he is “away” for his birthday weekend, he may be able to escape his birthday curse, but, so such luck. Not by a long shot. He may not have had the disastrous slapstick issues of birthday’s past, his problems are growing up, just like he is.

I can’t go into too many details without giving so much of it away and you really have to read it to ride the roller coaster. Let’s just say, characters were redeemed, mistakes were made, hearts were broken and hearts were mended. While I finished Turning 16 with a happy sigh, I finished Turning 17 with a confuzzled heart. Just like 17 is meant to be. I think that’s why I respected this installment so much and I appreciate the previous one even more now.

Sam’s voice is the same, but maturing. Not mature enough to not do stupid teenage crap, but his brain is on its way. Mostly this story captured that break from routine and that first taste of freedom handed to a teenager during the summer. And, let’s face it, with hindsight being 20/20, no dumbass teenager knows what to do with that time and they are going to make mistakes. It’s what they do with those mistakes that matter and that’s where Sam is right now.

I just love his voice and while I wanted to smack him upside the head (lovingly of course) I totally got where he was coming from and how he could be so focused and easily distracted at the same time. In the end, he’s got a good heart with the best of intentions and he is learning his way, just as we all did at 17.

I’m anxiously awaiting the next chapter of Sam’s growth because there is no way Perie would leave me hanging like this *glares at Perie*. And I do have to thank Perie for the bittersweet journey that is Turning 17.

He looks at me slyly, “Where did Adventurous Sam go?”

I’ve been asking myself the same question a lot here lately.

“He grew up, I guess.”

He nods to that.

It’s an undeniable fact that you grow up; you get wiser and obtain responsibilities. The problem is, I’m not 41, not even 31. I’m turning 17.

***a copy of this story was provided by the author for an honest review***
***which is why I reserve the right to give him crap for breaking my heart a little***


  1. Replies
    1. Absolutely and thank YOU! And, dammit Perie!


  2. Wonderful review! Thanks Ann and Perie! :-D

    1. Thank you Angela! I hope you get a chance to read and love it too!

  3. Great review. And, OMG, I love this cover!

    1. Thank you so much! He really nailed the feelz of the age for me. And I agree, the cover for this one (and all of them, really) are great.