Grades 9-12. A high-school English teacher, Camacho has gathered more than four-dozen essays from young people—many of them college students or recent graduates—reflecting on their lives, their pasts, their future prospects, and their personal philosophies. Per the editor’s request, each essay is rooted in a quotation from a book that has touched the writer’s life in a powerful way. The results offer a remarkable array of life experiences, some dramatic—a boy comes out to an unforgiving parent; a girl reflects on the murder of her father—some more introspective. The contributions are divided into five sections dealing, respectively, with beliefs and ideals; family, friends, and love; hard times and hope; identity and self; and dreams and the future. Each section concludes with questions designed to spur reflection, discussion, and writing. The book itself concludes with a guide for educators on sharing this title with students. Though designed for classroom use, the book will also reward an audience of independent readers.