« Great Expectations » est sans doute un roman qui se laisse lire. Mais s'il se situe dans la tradition des grands romans victoriens, il appelle aussi à la réflexion critique, notamment en raison de son caractère de profusion et de variété. C'est pourquoi la critique contemporaine, riche des apports de la linguistique, de la sémiotique, de la pragmatique, de la psychanalyse ou de l'épistémocritique, par exemple, se tourne vers ce roman pour en faire lecture autrement. Rendre compte de certains aspects de « Great Expectations » selon des éclairages contemporains, telle est la perspective de l'équipe d'enseignants-chercheurs spécialisés en littérature victorienne qui a rédigé cet ouvrage critique.
Rooster Cobb is in trouble--with his school, with his mother, with his girlfriend. He smokes too much and he hates his stepfather. In fact, he might not graduate from high school. But he just doesn't seem to care. That is until the guidance counselor and the principal come up with a plan to get Rooster through grade twelve, out of their lives forever and possibly on the right track with his life. The last thing Rooster wants to do is coach The Strikers, a bowling team of special-needs adults, especially when he finds out he's going to be mentored by the most unpopular girl in school, the principal's daughter, Elma. When he starts to take coaching seriously, his friends make fun of him, and his girlfriend accuses him of taking the easy way out. But when one of The Strikers dies unexpectedly, Rooster discovers there are as many ways to be a hero as there are ways to mess up.
Ellie is used to getting leading roles in her small-town school's musicals, but her place at center stage disappears when her dad becomes the host of a breakfast TV show and they have to move to the big city. When Ellie auditions for—and lands—a spot with the Youth Works Theater Company, she comes up against a tight-knit group of talented, experienced and competitive triple-threat performers. Not only does she not get a lead, but she has to share a role with Marissa, a company veteran who seems determined to do all she can to outshine Ellie. Out of her depth and far from all that she's known, Ellie wonders just what she has to do to stop feeling upstaged by everyone around her.
Luc Waldon always figured he knew what his passion was: football. He lives it, he breathes it—and he thinks he has what it takes to go all the way to the NFL. So when his football coach orders him to sign up for contemporary-dance classes to improve his game, Luc's less than thrilled. When he realizes that dance might actually be his true passion, he faces a tough decision. Is he willing to leave behind the field and a real shot at professional sports, and disappoint his parents, his coach and his teammates, in order to pursue a new dream?
Edge of Flight is the toughest rock-climbing route Vanisha has ever faced. She has one last chance to conquer it before she moves to Vermont to start university. University is a sore point for Vanisha, who yearns for a career in the outdoors but feels pressured by her mother to earn an academic degree. Trying to put school out of her mind, she heads to the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas with her buddies Rusty and Jeb for a final weekend of climbing and camping. Deep in the woods, they stumble on an illegal marijuana plantation, and the gang of bikers who guard it. When Jeb is shot by the bikers, Vanisha alone must get help—and to do so, she must climb Edge of Flight. As she confronts her insecurities on the cliff face and in the woods, Vanisha gains a new resolve and the self-confidence to choose her own path in life.
Fifteen-year-old Kyle Evans has been a jock for years—a triple threat basketball player who can dribble, pass or shoot with considerable skill. But once he decides to try out for the school musical production at Sainsbury High, Kyle finds there is much more to life than hightops and hookshots. Conflicting priorities cause problems between Kyle and his coaches, teachers, teammates and friends. And when his buddy Lukas becomes the target of homophobic hatred, Kyle is left with some difficult choices to make.