December Stillness - Mary Downing Hahn

14-year-old Kelly feels out of place everywhere nowadays. She doesn't fit in with her friends, she and her father don't get along. And she really wishes her mother would use her talent on real art instead of greeting card designs.

Kelly is changing, trying to find her place, find her own path in life and make a real difference. That's why when she decides to interview a local homeless Vietnam vet for school, it becomes more than just getting a good grade to her. Kelly wants to be his friend, to help him. No matter what she does, she can't seem to gain his trust. What had happened to him?

I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this book, but it ended up being very touching and even made me tear up a few times.

I felt Kelly was a very believable main character. Some may say she is just a typical teenager. I've even had that people say that to me when relating my own teenage experiences. I feel that is dismissive, though. Yes, how she feels and her experiences may be similar to yours or what other teens are going through, but I don't feel saying typical is right. Similar or not, everyone's experiences are unique to them.

That being said, I did like Kelly. She wasn't perfect and made mistakes, but I felt I could relate to her. I remember feeling lost and that I didn't belong.

I'd say the only thing that bothered me was the view of other characters. How they viewed the homeless, or more specific, the local homeless vet. I know this was written in the 80s, but this view held by some of the characters, I feel really relates to even our time. Some people still hold a negative view of those who are homeless. They look down on them, think they are lazy and they just aren't trying.

Kelly's relationship with her father isn't the best. She's growing and changing, finding her path in life. He wants a different path for her. Both don't understand each other. I really liked to see how their relationship changed at the end.

I thought this was a really good book and I'd recommend giving it a read if you get the chance.