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The Liberation of Max McTrue    by Kim Culbertson order for
Liberation of Max McTrue
by Kim Culbertson
Order:  USA  Can
BookBaby, 2012 (2012)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Kim Culbertson has made quite a name for herself in the YA contemporary market within just a few short years. Each of her works is better than her last, and this novella, The Liberation of Max McTrue, is her best yet.

Max McTrue has always been a follower, letting his family, friends, and girlfriend tell him what to think or do. All that changes the day his college admissions applications are due. That morning, he meets Clara Jane, a homeschooled girl traveling the country with her parents in an RV, learning as she explores each place they stop. When Max sees her walking across the field outside his English class window, he decides to ditch school and join her totally on a whim. Helping Clara Jane with her school project turns into a life lesson for Max as he discovers the future really is in his hands.

As is indicative of her style, Culbertson creates typical modern teenagers with realistic lives. Nothing is overly dramatic, but nothing is sugar-coated either. Each character is allowed to just be, to live and grow in a true-to-life contemporary setting, and this is what really connects Culbertson's characters with readers. Also, the plot of The Liberation of Max McTrue is perfectly paced and very different. Culbertson has Max going on an adventure, taking cues from the epic fantasy genre but sticking them firmly in a YA contemporary story. This puts this tale in a class all to itself.

At under 200 pages, The Liberation of Max McTrue is a short, easy read, but it is definitely designed to make the reader think. Kim Culbertson has outdone herself this time, and I cannot wait to see what she creates next.

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