Life Sliding by S. L. Mauldin

Gavin Bailey is the king. It is all Gavin all the time. His friends are carefully chosen. They are all high up on the pecking order. The cool gang. Gavin is the most looked up to kid, at least according to the yearbook. Unbeknownst to his ‘friends’ at other kids at school, he feels imprisoned by the title. He feels like he has to consistently paint a façade. To reliably give his fans their idol. He keeps his true self-hidden behind teenage uncertainties and insecurities. 

Gavin was friends with Jacob before. They were best buds. However, along the way they lost their relationship. They grew apart. The self-absorbed person that Gavin is, he never bothered to find out why. Of course, he wondered but he chose to listen to everyone mutter-what a freak- with reference to his former friend. 

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Gavin’s father has noticed that his son is in need of some redirection. He is getting mighty pompous and bratty. He decides to take matters into his own hands by enrolling him to volunteer at Camp Lift Me Up. At the camp, he encounters a blast from the past. His life is changed forever by one little boy. Will he change the social scene at the school?  

The pecking orders at high schools have a lasting effect on the students for the better part of their lives. The stereotyping and struggle to keep up is just too much for people who are only beginning to find themselves. This story is about a boy who realizes that he holds the power to shake up the social strata. The story will make you cry. It will make you laugh. It will make you feel all warm and fuzzy. It is incredibly well written. The plot is derived from a common high school setting but with a twist to the ending. S. L. Mauldin has done a good job of addressing the cliques and identity crisis issues in high schools. 

Life Sliding boasts a cat of deeply developed characters. Relatable and appealing to reality. Characters who effectively and effortlessly deliver the intended lessons and message. The author has molded Gain just right. Displaying his real self through internal monologues and showing who he is to the people through the pompous things he says. You will absolutely love beloved Caleb. 

Despite the great plot and relatable characters, the book needs some editing. There is also need for the author to describe scenes better. For example, the fight at the beginning was so insufficiently described that it feels misplaced and irrelevant. The beginning is also a little weak. While the dream is significant, you might be tempted to give up on the story at this point. 

This is an excellent book for teenagers to read so that they can better weather the struggles of the teenage years. It is also a good book for parents of teenagers t read so that they understand the banged doors and aloofness they often encounter. The faults of this book do nothing to deter the purpose of the book or the message therein. It is deserving of five stars for addressing an important issue.

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