Girl With A Future is the debut novel by author Parker Ames. We are introduced to Angie Cohen as she navigates the rite of passage that is High School. From a small town in Canada, Angie is an achiever and one who loves competition, be it athletic or academic. As a nationally recognized swimmer, Angie has the pick of scholarships to all the best Canadian Universities and even a few U.S. Ivy League schools. The premature death of her father, though, throws Angie into a personal emotional turmoil and after building up her late father’s fledgling company and selling it for s good price, Angie decides to eschew her scholarships at least for a year and travel Europe in an effort to “find herself” and hopefully discover the true direction of her life. She embarks on a voyage of discovery that will open her eyes and also reinforce some of her deeply held beliefs about life. Angie is a girl on a mission but, unfortunately, she has yet to figure out exactly what that mission will be.
As a reader, I was immediately struck by the breadth of the main character in this story. Angie Cohen is the Girl With A Future but the more time that passes, the less clear what that future holds. Author Parker Ames has imbued this character with a range of characteristics from shockingly naïve and innocent right through to that of a deep thinker and philosophizer. Angie thinks she knows what her future should hold but when her father dies and she fails at a national swim meet, her core beliefs are seriously challenged. At times one felt like shaking her and telling her that this is real life and she needs to get with the programme. However, Angie is determined to forge her own new path. Any writer that can involve a reader so intimately in the characters has done an excellent job and certainly that is what Ames has done in this story. Most people would shelve this story as women’s fiction or literary fiction but it deserves a broader category than that. It is an examination of life, its meaning and our place within it. I was pleased the author indicated this was not the last we would hear of Angie Cohen and I certainly look forward to the next iteration. I can highly recommend this book for those that like to ponder as they read and also enjoy a touch of romance here and there, on the side.