CARPE DIEM by Autumn Cornwell


Age Range: 12 - 17
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A naïve teen learns how to carpe diem after spending an adventurous summer in Southeast Asia. Sixteen-year-old Vassar Spore attends a private school where she’s prepping to be valedictorian, attend Vassar College, marry a surgeon or judge, write a book and win a Pulitzer by age 37. Her life has been carefully scripted by her efficiency-expert father and life-coach mother. But Vassar’s hygienically sealed world capsizes when her parents reluctantly let her spend the summer backpacking through Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos with her bohemian Grandma Gerd. Suspecting that Grandma has blackmailed her parents, Vassar is determined to discover their “Big Secret.” A novice traveler, Vassar arrives in Melaka with ten pieces of matched luggage, her laptop on which she plans to convert her experiences into a novel for Advanced Placement credit, her Genteel Traveler’s Guides and her Portable Travel Planner. Appalled by Grandma Gert’s “live in the moment” philosophy, Vassar gradually jettisons her obsessive-compulsive behavior and emerges knowing who she really is and what she really wants as she travels from the temples of Angkor to the bamboo huts of Laos. A witty coming-of-age adventure. (Fiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-312-36792-3
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2007