The Cool Kids by Jason Pellegrini is a remarkable coming of age story that follows three young boys in the early 90s as they embark on a journey of friendship and growth akin to The Goonies or Stand By Me. I was instantly hooked while learning more about who our narrator is because of the similarities we share! I am the youngest boy in the family and while I enjoyed watching sports, I never enjoyed playing them no matter how much my dad tried to get me involved. I was never as good as others and I would much rather just pop open a Goosebumps book or something from my parents’ shelves: John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, or Dean Koontz. I also got called “sister” a bit from my brothers and even some of their friends. So already I was interested to know more about our protagonist and his story.
For the story we have the following:
“Growing up, Kevin Ford was never considered one of the cool kids. He was the unathletic son of a father who had been the star of his college football team and the scrawny younger sibling of two brothers who loved to torment him. To his peers, he was far from being considered popular.
Kevin had two best friends, though. One afternoon in the summer of 1994, they showed up unannounced at his front door with a secret mission. What Kevin figured was going to be an average summer day with his friends turned into an adventure like no other. The three of them entered the woods and sought out a forgotten ancient myth.
Now, nearly a quarter century later, Kevin finds himself reminiscing about that August day. As he’s about to enter a new stage of his life, he looks to his past to help give him the strength to face what lies ahead.”
This book examines all those wonderful adventures we would go on as a child. Sometimes all it took was to walk inside the growth of some overgrown trees and pretend to be on another planet (when in reality I was in my neighbor’s back yard). But I think we all went on those fun journeys when we were little, when life didn’t get in the way and force us to stop being innocent. Pellegrini does a fantastic job of evoking those memories within ourselves while reading this novella.
I found myself captivated to hear about the “boys” once they grew up and where their lives went. While everyone went on to lead lives that fulfilled them and engaged in relationships and the workforce as we tend to do as we get older, it was obvious that lust for life and flare for adventure dimmed a bit for our main character. But that’s life. But the point is to remind ourselves we can still have adventures and good times. And we can ensure that our kids (or our nieces and nephews, our neighbor’s kids, etc) stay as young, innocent, and free as long as they can.
An easy 5-star read! You can find this and more books (and you can get them signed, too!) by Pellegrini on his website here!