Tara Altebrando won glowing praise for her novel Dreamland Social Club, including a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life follows high-school senior Mary and her friends as they compete for eternal glory in their small town’s scavenger hunt. Mary is determined to win, especially after losing her spot at Georgetown to a guy, Jake Barbone. But when alliances shift and all manner of drama breaks loose, Mary's team must come up with a new strategy to stay in the game.
This book was so much fun and I haven’t had this much of a “fun light-hearted adventure” in a while. Mary is trying to win the senior scavenger hunt to prove that she’s worth something and she ends up discovering more than just items off of a list – she discovers herself and what it means to grow up. Sure, she a whiny teenage girl – she complains about things like how she didn’t get the guy and how she didn’t get into her first choice college – “first world problems” as called by a guy in the book and I have to say that I agree. But as the book progresses, she begins to realize that maybe these things are important. But if they aren’t, then what is?
Mary has her ups and downs – her highs and her lows – and it was entertaining to go through this night with her. I’m not usually one for 24 hour books – a few good ones have found their way onto my Read list – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. And this one is another that works. The time frame is great – it doesn’t feel too slow/drawn out and it doesn’t feel rushed either.
The characters are believable and flawed and that’s what makes them so great. They mess up, they get mad for silly reasons – they’re teenagers. Tara Altebrando got the feeling of these soon-to-be college freshman just right and made me nostalgic for that summer after high school and before college. She just has something special that makes her books to enjoyable to read. And the voice actor really brought a lot to the table with her different character voices.
Overall, a delightful read that fans of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson will love!