Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life

Tara Altebrando
Dutton Juvenile
Disclaimer: Tara Altebrando and I have the same agent.

The (totally unofficial) Senior Year Scavenger Hunt is the highlight of graduation for Mary and her friends. After being beat out of Georgetown by Oyster High's resident jock/bully, Mary's determined that her team of "also-rans" will beat his team of populars in the scavenger hunt that takes place the night of graduation.

This is a particular kind of book. It doesn't have a name, but it's that on-the-edge-of-giant-life-changing-things category of books, where the character's lives aren't exactly in changing at the moment, but they will be soon. In YA many of these books, like The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life are set at the end of senior year or the summer after.  This book takes it one step further by taking place over the course of one night at the end of senior year -- as Mary leads her team in the ultra-underground scavenger hunt, her and her friends figure out what the end of high school really means for them, their futures, and their various relationships. Mary's fending off the unwanted advances of her best guy friend while trying to decipher the mixed messages her own crush seems to be sending her. Meanwhile, the hunt itself becomes increasingly important after run-ins with the football star, who got into Mary's dream school while she had to settle for second-best.

But all of this -- the hunt, the romantic entanglements -- hide what lies at the heart of this book and of Mary's night. Despite her mission of vengeance, she finds herself discovering unexpected things about herself, her friends, and her enemies. Her best friend isn't exactly who Mary thought -- but, for that matter, neither is her enemy the football star/bully. Like I said, this is a particular type of book: a face-everything-before-it-all-changes, standing-on-the-edge-of-tomorrow type of book, and for that particular story, it's one of the best I've read. As always, Altebrando's setting comes through loud and clear, setting the mood and atmosphere of the story. Though the characters aren't ones I'd want to be best friends with, the story is entertaining, with just enough depth to make it more than just another enjoyable read.

No comments:

Post a Comment