Friday, July 22, 2011

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain (NY: Little, Brown, 2006).

It all started with Harper's Big Lie to her best friends. Instead of telling them that she didn't get accepted at NYU, or any other school because she failed to apply anywhere else, she tells them she's decided to follow her dream and write a novel. At home in Boulder, Colorado, in her parents' basement. She doesn't mean to imply that they should all reassess their lives and goals, too, but that's what happens. Actress wannabe Sophie moves to LA to pursue film stardom, and perfect, Harvard-bound Kate heads to Europe instead of Cambridge. Becca decides to stay the course and head to college since getting far away from her dysfunctional family and skiing for the awesome coach at Middlebury College in Vermont IS her dream. Following dreams, though, sounds great in theory, but in practice is fraught with something akin to terror--and hilarity.

I enjoyed this novel a lot. Initially, I had concerns that it would be difficult to follow the four narratives of the four different characters, but their lives intersect via e-mail and phone calls, and they really are quite different. It helps that they're in completely different locations, too, which adds a lot of interest to the story. Yes, some of the trauma is typical YA fodder, yet it's all authentic and related with great understanding and good humor. Notice the publication date: 2006. I found this one by doing a readalike search for Sarah Dessen on NoveList (available through my local library's research tools). While I see the similarities to Dessen, this novel doesn't delve quite as deeply into the underlying issues of each of the characters and is really more about entertainment, which is fine! There's a sequel, too, entitled Footfree and Fancyloose (2008), which I also recommend. Once you start reading about these girls, you will want to see how the full Year of the Dream resolves. Recommended for teens ages 14 & up. Sexual situations, alcohol.

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