Cute. Relaxing. Engaging.
STORY: Jusa is an all-around good guy. He goes to school, cooks and cleans for his family, is nice to his neighbors, and tries to appreciate life. One day he meets a girl, Mari, in the forest. The two then deal with the struggles of life, love and happiness.
This is a nice relaxing read for the YA (young adult) teen crowd. Mari is in lukio and Jusa is a couple of years younger. The story is not overly complicated or dramatic, but the internal struggles the characters go through are the focus in this book.
CHARACTERS: Jusa is laid back and down to earth. He thinks of others and not just himself. Mari has super short hair and is smart. She lives in a nice house, her parents have expectations of her future and she has to a be a good role model to her a younger brother. This book contains full page illustrations throughout by Kim Helminen, and the characters' stances, expressions and attitudes really exemplify Jusa and Mari.
The book is told in third person from both Jusa and Mari's perspectives and is accessible to guy and girl readers.
LANGUAGE: Each chapter is from around 2-5 pages long. The vocabulary is basic with some more advanced words thrown into each chapter. The great illustrations help explain the story while still remaining simplistic and artistic.
I read each chapter in less than 10 minutes, most less than 5, while looking up new words using an online dictionary. What I found interesting about this book is that for me the vocabulary followed a bell curve, with the book's climax as its peak. So at the peak of the action, I was giving the book the most attention, looking up extra words, while the rest of the book was much more relaxing to read, with fewer words to look up. a surprising plus. I recommend this book to B1 or higher language levels. I think in this case the age of the reader is more important than the skill level, based on events and topics in the book.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: This is a light, relaxing read about teens and relationships, love and happiness. While this book is not specifically intended for the Finnish-as-a-second-language audience, there is a scene involving refugees. While other selkokirjat for the YA crowd are deep and heavy, this one is not complicated or overly dramatic. Neither is it fluff though! This book discusses important topics relevant to modern teens. The story will stay with the reader long after reading. And who could resist such an adorable cover? 4/5