Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Growing up is hard...letting go is even harder.  And all's fair in love and scavenger hunts.

Author: Tara Altebrando
Info: Dutton Juvenile, copyright 2012, 239 pages

An all-day scavenger hunt in the name of eternal small-town glory

With only a week until graduation, there's one last thing Mary and her friends must do together: participate in the Oyster Point High Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt. And Mary is determined to win.

Mary lost her spot at Georgetown to self-professed "it" bully Jake Barbone, and she's not about to lose again. But everyone is racing for the finish line with complicated motives, and the team's all-night adventure becomes all-night drama as shifting alliances, flared tempers, and crushing crushes take over. As the items and points pile up, Mary and her team must reinvent their strategy--and themselves--in order to win.

~Goodreads Description~

I SO wanted to fall in love with Tara Alterbrando's The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life.  It has tons of my favorite story elements.  An epic night...scavenger hunts...the end of high school and the fear of college...secret crushes.  But I just didn't love it, and I've been trying to figure out why.

This is what I've got...I'm too old.  I think I'm too old to appreciate the nostalgia or sense of place that this book might bring to a reader.  There were too many love woes (Mary loved Carson...who loved Winter...who was in love with Carson...but knew Mary loved Carson...and Patrick loved Mary...but Mary just wanted to be friends...and Dez was pretty much in love with himself...and messy).

Drama, drama, drama.

And after reading some exceptionally well-written books over the past few months, this particular story and writing style fell short.  I kept going to the mantra I've heard so many creative writing teachers preach, "show me, don't tell."  I want to feel the angst instead of heaving you tell me it's there.  I want you to give me enough credit as a reader to know who is speaking at any particular time with out constantly being told that "he said" something or "she asked" something.  Really.  I'm good.

The book has potential.  It just fell short of my expectations.  But, with all of that being said, there is definitely a lot in the book that might attract the attention of a teen reader.  If you know a teen who is worried about what's next, figuring out the college thing while having to let go of high school...this might be the right choice.

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