When Carley Wells is asked by her H.S. English teacher what her favorite book is, she answers: "Never met one I liked." Her parents are both horrified when the English teacher passes this information to them and so begins her parents quest to bring literature to Carley. Because they have a ton of money her parents decide to hire a writer who will help Carley create a work of fiction. Through the hired author and Carley's eyes we see this incredible life of money, boredom, parental error and self-loathing.
Carley is an overweight young woman who is in love with her best friend Hunter. Hunter suffers from major depression and chooses to drown his feelings in Vicodin and alcohol. Hunter and Carley have a somewhat toxic friendship as they rely on each other, trying to hide their own negative feelings.
The parents of each of these teenagers is a terrible parental example. Hunter's mother has a thing for Jackie O and spends more time watching clips of Jackie's tour of the White House than she does listening to her son. Carley's mom wants her to be thin and reminds her of it every day. Carley's dad had a few good qualities until its revealed that he's having an affair. They seem to think throwing money at each problem is the best solution. It doesn't work. Carley's character grows throughout the story and this makes the journey very worthwhile. Does she get a love of reading? You'll have to read the book to find out.
Carley's father had bought her Choose Your Own Adventures when she was a kid, mazelike books that begin with you waking up places like the planet Zantor and having to make choices like whether to trust a family of six-headed purple Zantorians who tell you to follow them home to safety before sundown when the planet's carnivorous plants will wake up. Only problem is that the Zantorians, with their six mouths of fangs, are a little vague about what they themselves eat. If you take the Zantorians up on their offer to "have you over for dinner," turn to page four. If you decide to take your chances tiptoeing through the snapping tulips, turn to page ten. The only thing Carley ever liked about them was working backward from the end, taking the forks in reverse to figure out how to end up on a spaceship bound for home. (39)Here is Tanya Egan Gibson's website and her twitter link.
I am interested to see what her next book might be like.
p.s. I read this book way back in August-one of these cold Fall days my reviews will catch up with what I'm reading now.