Length: 380 Pages
Johanna Pitcairn has a great style in the way she writes. We are introduced to Julie, a girl who is a bit obsessive and mostly angry. Johanna gets the book off and running with a quick start and has a fantastic way of describing Julie as an entitled and spoiled teen that we have all had the displeasure of knowing. From the rich and famous family to the clothing and car, she is the character we love to hate. Before we know what happened the script is flipped and we are feeling for this angst filled girl and hoping she will turn it around.
Although the protagonist is female and written with the girls viewpoint, I find myself immediately taken back to the feelings of a younger me. High school is like the twilight zone, it’s hard to understand and have a clear perspective while your fighting your way through all the drama. Now looking back as I read 32 Seconds I see it in a whole new way, I’m sure this was the intent of the author, and can help us all better understand those as they navigate their way through the teenage years.
Johanna Pitcairn has a great way of transporting you back in time and making you remember all those feelings you have long since forgotten. The character’s are so reminiscent of anyone’s younger days, it’s like I stepped in a time machine. Julie’s journey while inside her mind is cleverly done as layer upon layer are revealed. We are exposed to her former self that she so desperately tried to run from.
The journey Julie takes in her mind is cleverly written and filled with many well thought out mixtures of adventure, mystery and fantasy. Her mind has taken charge to get her back to being a whole and complete person again by teaching her to channel her anger and be a more positive person. She learns to deal with her past and no longer bury her feelings and must deal with past if she is to become the girl she wants to be.
As she battles the demons from her past she learns to forgive herself and come to terms with her true inner self and her suppressed feelings. This story is one of personal growth, and learning to accept ones actions, consequence and imperfections. Julie learns that she is her greatest enemy as so many of us are, sometimes we can’t get out of our own way. Overall I found the theme a powerful one and think it’s a great read for a younger audience. The language and dialogue are quite current in the “teenage” dialectic. I would have liked a quicker pacing during some portions of the story but Johanna picks up the pace in the end and the conclusion is nicely wrapped up for the reader.