Author: Sarah Combs
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.
Recommended if you like: Coming of age stories, Stories about college life, teen fiction
What Its About:
The summer before her senior year, Gloria is offered the opportunity to attend "Geek Camp", a summer camp program at her local state university for Gifted and Talented students. Her best friend is spending the summer in New York at dance camp so she agrees, but the experience may just change her life.
The new classmates, roommates and professors she meets, and learns to love, open her eyes to acceptance and not judging people by their looks. Being away from home and away from her single father, allows her to grow to be the person her recently departed grandmother, Gogo, taught her to be. A boy, who initially annoys her with his Mad-Hatter impressions, teaches her that sometimes the things you hate the most are the ones that will stick with you forever.
This coming-of-age story is sweet and nostalgic, a nice read. The book was well written enough that you felt true connections with the characters and could relate. It actually took me back to my college days and made me feel those first experiences again (including a skinny-dipping incident that shall not be named).
I especially liked how Gloria sort of "looked" into her future at the end to see what was to come. This was an interesting, and I thought innovative, way to handle the "what comes next?" question.
My only complaint would be that there was just so many story lines to follow, I didn't know what I should be focused on:
loss of grandparent
single parent/missing mom
potential loss of best friend with age
new friendships, and their potential love interests/family issues/political issues
potential love story
acceptance of others in general
focus on acting, and her changing love of it
plans for the future, remaining in Kentucky or following her New York dreams
the crazy professor and her expectations of who he should be
There just seemed to be so much to follow. Every time something new popped up, it felt more and more packaged ("oops, don't forget to get that issue in there..."). Many books, particularly young adult books, have a theme or lesson to be learned, and while the wealth of issues Gloria dealt with are generally realistic in life...in a short book like this, it just seemed that none of them (let alone all of them) got the attention or resolution it deserved. The book was too heavy to be a light read, but too light to actually contain a moral or lesson.
Overall, a nice read though.