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the quintessential end-of-high-school book

  • Jan 10, 2013
Rating:
+5
High school is ending. After an entire life spent in second place, Mary Gilhooley hopes the Oyster Point High Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt will be her chance to finally come out on top. Jake Barbone may be going to Georgetown instead of her, cute Carson might be dating someone else, but this scavenger hunt is Mary's.

Even if her misfit friends decide to prepare by wearing the least practical scavenger hunt outfits ever. Sure, changing Dez's mind about anything fashion related was hopeless. But did Patrick really need knee socks with his shorts? Or suspenders? And why would Winter wear a dress and platform flip-flops? Doesn't the rest of her team know that Mary came to Win with a capital W?

One all-day scavenger hunt, two lawn ornaments, three meltdowns, four relationship fails, nostalgia, and one incredibly daring stunt stand between Mary's team and victory. Or utter failure in The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life (2012) by Tara Altebrando.

At 239 pages (hardcover) The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life is the short, fast-paced read you would expect from a scavenger hunt odyssey. Filled with hijinks and tricky clues, Altebrando draws readers into the Official Unofficial hunt right along with Mary and her misfit friends that you can't help but love.

Between brainstorming sessions and high-action competition, Altebrando includes thoughtful musings on what the end of high school really means for old friends and new beginnings. Truly, this book is the quintessential end-of-high-school read as Mary and her friends all wonder what the future holds. The blend of excitement, adventure, and sometimes dread only adds to the delightful ride that is The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life.

Possible Pairings: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Graffitti Moon by Cath Crowley, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

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About the reviewer

Ranked #204
Reader, writer, blogger.      I have a master's in library science and information systems and am currently searching for a librarian position.      You can … more
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Wiki

Gr 7-10-Mary's last hope to do something memorable in high school is to win the Oyster Point High Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt. After a fiasco at prom and losing her spot at Georgetown to the football jock, she is determined to take first place. She convinces her friends to help her gain enough points to beat the other seniors. They dash around town to find all sorts of items and they puzzle out clues left through text messages. As the afternoon and evening drag on, issues under the surface come to light, and nothing will be the same. Ultimately, Mary has to decide what's more important-her friendships or winning. Quite a few flashbacks explain the events leading to the night in the book, while the issues the characters deal with fill in gaps. The protagonist is not a sympathetic character, and while the scavenger hunt will keep readers turning the pages, the story falls a little flat.-Natalie Struecker, Rock Island Public Library, ILα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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