Awake in the World, by Jason Gurley
As the sun sets off the coast of the small California town of Orilla del Cielo, the silhouettes of oil rigs loom.
Their shadows mar the serene backdrop, their sharpness a reminder of unfulfilled promises. To Zach, they are also a reminder of loss―his father, an oil worker, drowned years earlier. With his family struggling to make ends meet, Zach feels he’s destined for a bleak future.
Until he meets Vanessa. She's an optimistic girl from a wealthy family whose sights are literally set on the stars. Inspired by her idol, Carl Sagan, she plans on studying astronomy at Cornell. But as oil prospectors in search of black gold know, the future is uncertain . . . and fortunes can always be flipped.
“More than a love story, this novel is a timely, moving statement about income inequity and the plight of the working poor. And yet while it is about seeming opposites. . . Gurley persistently reminds readers that pain is pain; that everyone struggles.” ―Horn Book
“Buoyed by strong, likable characters and superb writing, this coming-of-age tale cuts to the core.” ―Kirkus Reviews