Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC) LIFE by Tara Altebrando

THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC) LIFE

By Tara Altebrando

Age Range: 13 - 18

Pub Date: July 5th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-525-42326-3
Publisher: Dutton

It’s the week before high school graduation, time for the annual Senior Week Scavenger Hunt. Over a long day, Mary and the three other members of her team will bond one last time, settle old scores with rival teams, and pursue the elusive prize: a giant lawn-ornament Yeti.

For Mary, winning also means beating out Jake Barbone, the gay-bashing jock whom Georgetown admitted over Mary, despite her superior grades. Teammate Dez is a past Barbone victim; Winter and Patrick have agendas of their own that Mary’s forced to reckon with as the day unfolds. Harvard-bound Patrick isn’t satisfied with Mary’s friendship—he wants more. Is Winter hiding her own romantic secrets that might interfere with Mary’s scheme to secure Carson’s affections? While texting, sending videos and doing online searches via smart phone (this is one high-tech hunt), not to mention searching out live goldfish and puzzling over Dixie-cup icosahedrons and origami sheep, Mary will make surprising discoveries and confront uncomfortable truths. Anxious and excited, ebullient and sorrowful, she’s poised to take flight into the intoxicating world of adult freedom. But tearing around capturing fireflies and hunting out old stuffed animals brings home the bittersweet truth of what—and whom—she’ll leave behind.

Funny and nostalgic, a highly contemporary riff on a timeless rite of passage. (Fiction. 13 & up)