The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life (2012)

By: Tara Altebrando

The last week of school before graduation finds the senior class participating in the unofficial senior week Scavenger Hunt. For twenty-four hours, teams must search for every item on the given list, which takes them all over their small town, without letting adults or school officials know what’s happening. Our protagonist, Mary, is dealing with her crush, the school bully, and her best guy friend liking her, all while trying to crush the competition (pun not intended).

So, I really enjoyed this book. More than I thought I would. But I have a few questions. If you’re racing against the clock, do you really have time to go swimming at someone’s house? If your friend and your crush like each other, do you really need to get upset about it and stop talking to them? Should we root for the best guy friend to get her heart in the end, or should we never want her to see him again?

I think it’s a sign of a good book that I’m considering that last one. That’s more what real life is like—messy, and convoluted, and confusing. And though I didn’t agree with the ending, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you're looking for some graduation nostalgia, definitely read it. It actually inspired a new novel I’m working on!

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