Buckle up your Birkenstocks and travel back to 1975. Discover (or relive) the pre-digital age in Arcata, a remote Bohemian college town on the northern edge of California. Meet Kit, a hard-working, bookish senior, on track for graduation—that is, until she falls for Jonathan, one-time bestselling author, now her stand-in professor. Jonathan, a master in the art of deceptioBuckle up your Birkenstocks and travel back to 1975. Discover (or relive) the pre-digital age in Arcata, a remote Bohemian college town on the northern edge of California. Meet Kit, a hard-working, bookish senior, on track for graduation—that is, until she falls for Jonathan, one-time bestselling author, now her stand-in professor. Jonathan, a master in the art of deception, isn’t who he appears to be. As their bond grows, Kit’s desire blinds her to the truth— a shocking discovery shatters her faith and ultimately tests her integrity. From the first blush of fall quarter to the final breath of spring, hard lessons will be learned. To “graduate” into an uncertain future, Jonathan and Kit must first embrace the present—including the injustices, ambiguities and absolute beauty of their lives. Beneath the ever-changing Humboldt skies they forge ahead; they stumble and sometimes fall. Heliotrope, a coming-of age story for the ages....
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Honestly? I can’t possibly do a balanced review of this book. Oh, sure I could start with the usual things like plot and style and character development. But here’s the problem. Heliotrope isn’t just any coming-of-age story of romance and heartbreak and discovery. It’s very close to being my story. The plot—Kit, a young girl trying to figure out who she needs to be, and Jonathan, a man trying to stop hiding from who he really is—could probably apply to almost anyone who fell in love on purpose only to lose something they never really had. The style is a spare, elegant presentation of a letter-perfect college town in the seventies. JT Miller creates miniature jewels of word pictures, whose every facet owes existence both the author’s excellent memory and her exquisite ability to let readers experience those memories. Kit’s student neighborhood has a “…sophomoric vibe—Birkenstocks, backpacks and unshaven armpits as far as the eye could see…” Jonathan’s tie is heliotrope, a color which manages to perfectly define the seventies, tell us about Jonathan, and hint at Kit’s own future.“Today he sported a plump tie, one Kit had never seen before. How does a man get away with a color like that? Heliotrope—a dark pinkish purple, suggestive of engorged labia or ripe plums. Kit smiled inwardly, recalling the shapely word heliotrope, which she’d discovered in last quarter’s etymology class. “Helios” was the Greek root for sun. “Tropos” meant turning. Turning to the sun. For Kit, words were like popcorn—she gobbled them.”But then there are those characters… starting with Kit herself. She’s the good student who has goals, works hard, and stays focused on where she’s going. She arrives at college, and reinvents herself to fit in with the sophisticated people she meets. Then she’s the young woman who deliberately chooses a stranger to love because he seems like the adult she wants to become— “She had fallen in love with him, or at least the idea of loving a grown man.”This is followed by the inevitably bittersweet moment when Kit realizes she’s outgrown that new identity she invented for herself.“Like a flower without light, her body went limp. Her mind, however, buzzed with newfound clarity. Somehow, when she wasn’t paying attention, she had outgrown her life. This small and cloistered place, she realized, held nothing for her now… The conformity of cool had grown tiresome—she didn’t even really like tofu.”In all her incarnations as Kit, Katherine, Kathy, and Kate, this is a young woman I recognize—not because I know her, but because I am her. Or at least I once was a young woman who, like Kit, thought of ourselves as completely free. We had the pill, and antibiotics, Roe v Wade, and any day now we were going to see the Equal Rights Amendment pass. We owned our bodies, our hearts, and our futures.In many ways similar to Kit, I grew up in California, went away to college, forcibly changed myself from Valley girl to my idea of an intellectual, made lifelong friends (many of whom I never saw again), and indulged in disastrous relationships. Like Kit, I was sure we’d be adult women who were completely free to eat or drink or smoke whatever we wanted (unless it interfered with our classes or jobs of course), and have free and open sex (unless we almost immediately fell into a committed relationship that we’re still in four decades on). And at the same time, we were practically guaranteed success in any career while still achieving a full and rich personal life.Right?So here’s my review. I don’t actually think that Heliotrope is a coming of age book. That sounds like something inevitable, something predestined to happen no matter what. Instead, I think it’s a book that does a wonderful five-star job of showing how we can invent the person we decide to become, and then make that invention a living, breathing reality. And the secret is that it happens over and over. We outgrow those shells we invent, and we need to find the new ones that fit even better. I expect that if we met Kit today, she would still be making those new and better-fitting shells. (And if she is, JC Miller is clearly the right person to tell the rest of Kit’s story.)There were a few disappointments, especially in the character of Joe who seems curiously flat and passive. But the other characters more than make up for this, even when they are little more than tropes, such as JJ, the perpetual, slightly pathetic roommate or Erin, the golden girl who seems determined to self-destruct in a flaming blaze. And, although I found him narcissistic, shallow, and self-deceiving, I have to admit that I felt a kinship with Jonathan’s character too.“More and more, it seemed his life had taken on a dreamlike quality. Maybe he really had died, and just didn’t know it yet. A zombie doomed to dwell the gray areas, caught between the earthly and celestial realms. If not, it was an interesting idea for a third novel.”Why kinship? Because in his moments of honesty (few and fleeting though they may have been), Jonathan was something I recognized. He was a writer.*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Heliotrope is a compelling coming of age story that transports the reader back to 1975 where they follow college senior Kit Hilliard as she embarks on a emotional journey of self discovery.Set in Arcata, California, author JC Miller weaves a thought provoking tale of a young woman as she comes of age in 1975, yearning to find her place in the world, while learning hard life lessons when a crush on her professor is unrequited, turning her life upside down and on a destructive path. Heliotrope is an intriguing tale that features two complex characters: Kit, the college senior who is yearning to find her place in the world, while developing a unrequited love for her professor, Jonathan Wakefield. Jonathan is a one-time best selling author turned professor, who has his own internal conflicts and isn't who he appears to be. Their story is full of drama, internal personal conflicts, angst, romance, betrayal, life lessons, and emotional trials and tribulations that easily keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages. The author does a wonderful job of transporting the reader back to 1975 with rich descriptions and references of the easy going, free to be time period, don't you just love the book cover! This complex story flows smoothly as Kit and Jon's story unfolds in a dramatic and tumultuous style. I couldn't help but find myself captivated by Kit and Jon's story, it is a delightful story that even took me on a walk down memory lane of my own college years! Heliotrope is a realistic coming of age story that captures the essence of college and of life's struggles and choices in a more hipper and simpler time. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a book review program and virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot...
This is short romantic read. This is a stand alone, but the ending is open. There is a great opportunity to write another book. I personally do not recommend this for a younger audience, the book contains some sexual content, some deep emotional issues with one's own sexuality. This book had so many tosses and turns, I never knew what to expect. Kit is such a likable person, but at times I wanted to shake some sense into her. She is very gullible at times. Jon made me want to scream, slap him, hard. But I adore Milo, he by far is my favorite character, I would love to read more about him.In Arcata Calfornia, we are taken back to 1975. Katherine/Kit is a college student with a lot of potential. She has a full plate but she is doing the best she can. Tragedy hits and after some consoling, Kit finds herself developing feeling for her professor Jonathon. To find out her feelings were not reciprocated. Well she is struggling to find herself and makes some irresponsible choices. Even with regret she has to take responsibility for her actions. Favorite passages:"He reminded her of a curly-headed hyena with energy to burn, funny as sh**- the only Waffle Hamlet employee who didn't treat her like a leper just because she was a college interloper.""Rain ran like ink down Kit's forehead.""The moment was so beautiful she wanted to cry."<3"I'd do him," she said, when the casual detachment as if she'd said, I'd shake his hand." "The city lights below so hauntingly beautiful he had to look away.""When he smiled, tendrils of smoke billowed from his flared nostrils, all dragony.""It was beautiful and unforgiving. The ocean was indifferent.""Like a flower without light, her body went limp.""Her heart squeezed then shrank into a hardened little pellet. It crumbled to dust."<3"Colorless grief like a fog condensed and clung to her skin."<3
Heliotrope has been called “a coming of age story for the ages.” And it’s more than that. Heliotrope is a story about finding one’s path in a complicated world and finding peace in one’s own skin. It’s about finding a place we belong.For Kit Hilliard, home is a place to escape. She goes as far from her dusty, shattered childhood as she can, to attend college in lush 1975 Arcata, California. “Kit’s vision filled with green, quenching the arid ground of her birthplace, softening the brittle places in her heart. Eager to reinvent her life and thirsty for uncharted ground, Kit opened up like a flower turning to light.” On the cusp of graduation, she falls in love with her senior seminar professor, Jonathan Wakefield, but Jonathan, a best-selling author, is not who he appears to be. After a dinner party goes awry, Kit flees to the comfort of her buddy, Milo, and makes a discovery that shocks her. Betrayed and embarrassed she lashes out in revenge. Jonathan takes a hard look at his life and finds no loving net awaits him back home. With Kit’s graduation looming and Jonathan’s teaching contract coming to an end, the future is uncertain. Both must recognize and create the lives they yearn to lead.Straightforward and lyrical, JC Miller’s prose is adept with figurative language and she’s got her pen on the pulse of humanity. She is able to root into the deepest recesses of her characters for truth, presenting real, likeable characters who experience the full range of human emotions. The story unfolds naturally in a smooth, organic progression, leading the reader to a satisfying and hope filled conclusion. Heliotrope will resonate with anyone who has experienced the bruising of coming to terms with life and remembers the pain and joy of finding oneself at any age.I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair review. I couldn't put it down!
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Heliotrope is an interesting dichotomy of love and hate—and not the kind we normally associate with chick lit. Both Kit and Jonathan have moments of self-loathing and self-indulgence, which seems in keeping with the ‘70s backdrop, and this contrast was something I could understand but abhor at the same time. Jonathan’s issues with his family and his internal conflict were completely human, so full of inconsistencies and heartache. Kit’s crush was also very realistic and took me back to my own younger days, the cute professor, the jealousy, the mystery of discovering yourself. Her subsequent cruelty was also genuine; after all, “hell hath no fury,” right? Both characters were tortured and lonely, searching for the acceptance we all want in a less-than-forgiving time.The story was a bit slow at times, and I wanted to prod it along. The constant description of weather was trying; I believe the weather, like the characters, was tumultuous and gray, but lengthy description of skies and rain wore thin. However, the story’s twist makes up for those issues.
4 StarsI was given this book for my honest reviewThis book takes us back to a time where all things were conceived as possible but in reality things became hidden for society didn’t agree at the time. Our lives of today were not of yesterday, the future was plentiful and bright but for some the hidden truth became evident. This is Jonathan’s journey.A man’s future depended on the sexuality of society in what the world perceived him to be. The hidden trials and comforts of one was not acceptable within the circle that be. As a man he had to become the dutiful husband, father, confidant and lover in the confines of his home. However, his true heart was not flourishing.Author J. C. Miller takes us into a world not known of today but in some circles it is just that. The depth that this author takes in this read is beyond words. She writes of the commonality of today but also of yesterday when society was more judgmental in the powers of a man. This read will stand out to many but will give some a degree of uneasiness about what yesterday had held but with the flourishing of the world of today. Happy Reading
Kit is a straight A, hardworking student who falls in love with her professor. The professor turns out not to be the man she thought he was. This discovery sends her on a path of self destruction. Don't you just love this cover!!! This coming of age tale brought back so many memories of my growing up years. I remember when air travel was easy peasy and a child traveler received many free item,but never cigarettes. I am sure it happens though. I loved so many parts of this novel and it had so much to say. Kit has so much going for her, talent, brains and beauty. But, she lets her impulses get the better of her. Jonathan, her professor, is a misguided, sort of self-hating person. He ends up learning a hard lesson and Kit overcomes many trials and tribulations. However, this novel fell apart in the middle. It was almost like the author just added plots to make the story longer. But,I see real growth in this author's writing. I have read many of her books and this, by far, is her best. Her characters are very well developed and her story line is very unique. And the time period.....well.....I loved it.I received this novel from the author for a honest review.
Heliotrope by JC Miller was another great book by this author. I have read several books by this author, and I have yet to read one that I haven’t loved by her. I liked Kit from the start, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Jonathan, and I wondered if I would end up liking him and as it turns out I still didn’t like him when the book was over. It is funny how sometimes you do end up liking characters by the end of the book and other times you still hate them as much as you did from the start. Let’s get back to this book. I loved that this book takes place 1970’s because it was a fun change from books I have been reading lately. I liked that this book took back to a slower pace, but it was crazy because I had to remind myself of the year because I wondered why they didn’t call a cell phone and email her paper in when she was sick. I did enjoy this book, and I can’t wait to see what the author is going to write next.FTC : I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.