A delightful fourth and final book about the rich, quirky life of 21-year-old college student Hallie Palmer.
When the story opens, Hallie is days away from donning graduation cap and gown to begin her post-college life when she discovers a clerical error has left her one social-sciences class short. Minutes later, she bumps into Josh, an old crush of hers who tells her she can get the course credit if she signs up with a sociology team (of which Josh is a part) to travel the world, dropping wallets containing $20 each, as part of a professor's doctoral study on humanity's global honesty. But if Hallie embarks on this globe-trotting mission, it will throw a jumbo-sized wrench into her plans to move in with her longtime boyfriend Craig and start work at her new job. However, for this small-town girl, the opportunity is too irresistible to refuse and just before she departs, a stung Craig bestows a free-spirit status on them both. While her journey is fraught with food poisoning, an earthquake and various assorted comical conundrums, Hallie must also try to remain in her professor's good graces as well as withstand life with her roommate Mandy, a Mennonite who suddenly morphs into a henna-tattooed siren on the second day of the journey. Wiser for her tribulations, Hallie returns home to her family with eight siblings, her hysterically funny gay friend, Bernard and his perpetually politically correct mother, Olivia, and Craig. What follows is a marvelous ending with a funny domino-like sequence of surprises for Hallie and others. Though the book can be found on young-adult shelves, the story is more than sufficiently sophisticated to grab adults as well. Literary and cultural references add a wonderful depth to the anecdotes and metaphors. The book’s laugh-out-loud funny, and readers will find themselves rereading lines just for the sheer joy of it. They may also find that going back to the preceding three books will prove to be irresistible.
A sure bet.