With freshman year behind her, things look grim for Rachael O'Brien's summer back home in Canton, Ohio, where the chances of hooking up with her crush seem to fall between slim and none. As if "quality time" working in her father's restoration shop isn't tortuous enough, his ditzy, age-inappropriate aerobics-instructor girlfriend moves into their house and tries to bond.
It's the end of the 80s, and Rachael O'Brien's last year of college, but before classes begin, her grandmother's stately home is burgled, and a rare book of prophecies is defaced with a menacing message threatening the family.
It's '86, the era of Pop Rocks, Jelly shoes, and big hair bands. Rachael O'Brien's freshman plan seems simple: Attend a southern college away from her hometown of Canton, Ohio, earn a degree, party, and meet cute guys-hopefully acing the latter two. But being threatened by a jealous She-Devil, avoiding the advances of a 30-something redneck, and discovering an art fraud scheme mess with her "to do" list.
"Going to College with Rachel O;Brien is A Hoot"
Rachael O'Brien, a girl from the cornfields of Canton, Ohio, returns to college in North Carolina in her old Ford. Before the engine has cooled she finds herself in a passionate lip-lock with the man she's been fantasizing about, making sophomore year seem full of promise.
This summer, Rachael O'Brien must participate in a work-study apprenticeship and has lined up a job running an art gallery in Beaufort. Free rent in the owner's plantation-style home, and having Francine, her bayou-bred college roommate working as a law intern in the same town sealed the deal. Majestic waterfront views impress, but the emotional tide turns when the girls discover a corpse in the garden shed. When the police can't find the body, the girls are accused of pranking the authorities.
It's junior year and Rachael is psyched to ditch dorm life and share a house with four other girls. But, she can't shake the ominous feeling about her narcissistic roommate-landlady, who has a history of derailing her love life. And then there are those uninvited visits by the ex-boyfriend of another roommate, who brings brushes with the law and heaps of drama as his calling card. When Rachael's mother and her psychic groupies show up in their double-decker bus during a house party, Mom reveals a troubling premonition.
Rachael O'Brien's summer starts with a promising trip to England with her eccentric grandmother, her dad's long-time assistant, and her very good-looking, very gay friend, Travis. She thinks that distancing herself from the southern men she's developed an appetite for is the emotional breather she needs. But for Rachael O'Brien, nothing is ever simple. An amethyst oyster brooch with a scandalous past leads her into trouble far from home. Discovering that she has been followed across the Atlantic, surviving British culinary challenges becomes the least of Rachael's worries.
"Great Summer Read!"