Author: Perie Wolford
Pages/Word Count: 140 Pages
At a Glance: Fun, funny, and melancholy—this series should be labeled Required Reading in its genre.
Reviewed By: Tina
Blurb: Part 1: THE FIRST DAYS IN COLLEGE
Sam worked so hard to get a chance to go to Boston Film Academy but never in his darkest nightmares could he imagine that he would hate it there from day one.
Part 2: CHRISTMAS WITH MITCH
One thing that Mitch dreaded the most was coming out to his family but now he is being forced to do it because his mother is relentless trying to set him up on a date with a nice girl, just one date, or maybe two, or a dozen; and that is driving him crazy.
Review: Sam Dorsey’s story is told through a collection of short stories and novellas that make up the Turning 16 Series. Each book is loosely based on an angsty teenager movie from the 1980s. The first two were each an accounting of two of Sam’s birthdays. The first, his sixteenth, held hints of Sixteen Candles, the Molly Ringwald movie that came to be part of a collection of films representing a generation of young people, myself included.
The second book told the story of Sam’s seventeenth birthday, and Mr. Wolford included a nod to Dirty Dancing. Poor Sam believes his birthday is cursed, and the only way to avoid calamity on that one day each year is to avoid acknowledging the actual day of his birth as a special day. The days before and after are okay to celebrate, just not the day itself.
Eventually, Sam had to graduate high school and go to college, right? Sam Dorsey and His First Days in College is made up of two short stories: The First Days in College and Christmas with Mitch. Sam has wanted to go to the Boston Film Academy since he can remember. He is shocked to discover that while he had an image in his mind of what college life would be like, the actuality is vastly different.
In the first two books, Perie Wolford dealt masterfully with Sam’s coming out and the conflict he suddenly faced, having to choose between his BFF Mitch and Mr. Popularity, Jake. The title of the second story included in this volume is a spoiler if you don’t know which guy Sam chose. That information is available in the book descriptions everywhere, though, so I’m not responsible for giving it up!
Reading Sam Dorsey and His First Days in College kind of felt like reuniting with old friends I hadn’t seen in a while. It was having coffee with Sam and catching up on what I had missed in the last year or so. I slipped right back into his world, easily and comfortably. Mr. Wolford has written these characters and their stories in a way that makes you feel like you’re a part of their universe, not just watching from the outside of your e-reader.
Sam’s stories are short and sweet, even when they’re full of teen angst. I had looked forward to this book to see where Mr. Wolford would take me—I mean, Sam—next. I wasn’t disappointed. It was fun, funny, and melancholy. I felt pride at how far Sam has come.
The next book in the series, Such a Grown-Up (Turning 16 #3.2), is expected in November. Just in time for Sam’s sophomore year in college? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you take the time to read the first three books in this delightful series. You won’t be disappointed.
You can buy Sam Dorsey and His First Days in College here: