Watching Traffic

Watching Traffic

Written by: Ozkowski, Jane
ages 14 and up / grades 9 and up

A stunning debut novel about that uncertain summer after high-school graduation.

Emily has finally finished high school in the small town where she has lived her whole life. At last, she thinks, her adult life can begin.

But what if you have no idea what you want your new life to look like? What then?

While Lincoln gets ready to go backpacking in Australia, Melissa packs for university on the east coast, and a new guy named Tyler provides welcome distraction, Emily wonders whether she will end up working forever at Pamela’s Country Catering, cutting the crusts off party sandwiches and stuffing mushrooms. Is this her future? Being known forever as the local girl whose mother abandoned her in the worst way possible all those years ago? Visiting her spacey grandmother, watching nature shows on TV with her dad and hanging out with Robert the grocery clerk? Listening to the distant hum of the highway leading out of the town everyone can’t wait to leave?

With poetic prose and a keen eye for the quirks and ironies of small-town life, Jane Ozkowski captures the bittersweet uncertainty of that weird, unreal summer after high school — a time that is full of possibility and completely terrifying at the same time.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3

Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6

Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

A stunning debut novel about that uncertain summer after high-school graduation.

Emily has finally finished high school in the small town where she has lived her whole life. At last, she thinks, her adult life can begin.

But what if you have no idea what you want your new life to look like? What then?

While Lincoln gets ready to go backpacking in Australia, Melissa packs for university on the east coast, and a new guy named Tyler provides welcome distraction, Emily wonders whether she will end up working forever at Pamela’s Country Catering, cutting the crusts off party sandwiches and stuffing mushrooms. Is this her future? Being known forever as the local girl whose mother abandoned her in the worst way possible all those years ago? Visiting her spacey grandmother, watching nature shows on TV with her dad and hanging out with Robert the grocery clerk? Listening to the distant hum of the highway leading out of the town everyone can’t wait to leave?

With poetic prose and a keen eye for the quirks and ironies of small-town life, Jane Ozkowski captures the bittersweet uncertainty of that weird, unreal summer after high school — a time that is full of possibility and completely terrifying at the same time.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3

Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6

Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd - Aug 1, 2016
Specifications 192 pages | 5.25 in x 8 in
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Excerpt

Praise for Jane Ozkowski and Watching Traffic:

"A short, slice-of-life-style story that fans of literary fiction will find satisfying." — Kirkus Reviews

"Ozkowski's thoughtful novel covers substantial emotional ground with authenticity." — Publishers Weekly

"Ozkowski adeptly captures the absurdity and magic of the last summer before college." — School Library Journal

"Ozkowski understands human frailties and celebrates individual strengths and resilience." — Montreal Gazette

"An affirming, realistic portrayal of a smart girl being totally present in her uncertainty and embracing it without judgment." — The Globe and Mail

"Ozkowski's smart, insightful debut perfectly captures the frustratingly disjointed time between the end of high school and the beginning of everything else." — The Horn Book

"An unassuming treasure with beautiful prose and lingering resonance." — Canadian Children's Book News

Audience ages 14 and up / grades 9 and up
Reading Levels Lexile 900L
Guided Reading Z+
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3