How NOT to Spend Your Senior Year by Cameron Dokey

Thursday, February 3, 2011

release date: January 1, 2003
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Romantic Comedy
length: 304 pages
publisher: Simon Pulse
overall rating: 3.5 stars

*the back cover*
Rule #1: If at all possible, don't pretend to be something you're not. Specifically, don't play dead. Trust me on this one. I did it, so I should know.
Jo O'Connor has spent her whole life moving around. When it comes to new schools, there's not a trick in the book about starting over that Jo doesn't know. But life is about to teach her a new trick: how to disappear entirely.

Rule #2: Always expect the Spanish Inquisition, no matter what anyone else does.
They have to move again. Now. This very night. Jo knows better than to argue. Her dad is the key witness in a major case against a big-time bad guy. But Jo just can't resist one last visit to the school where she's been so happy. All she wants is to say good-bye. That can't cause any problems, can it?

Rule #3: Never assume you can predict the future.
Now Jo's one last visit has landed her smack in the middle of a ghost story. Specifically, her own. By the time it's over, she'll have a whole new set of rules about what's real, what's make-believe, and -- most of all -- what's important.

*my review*
I initially grabbed this book from the library’s paperback shelf hoping for a quick light read...a little plot, a little romance, a little fun, but nothing too extravagant. Boy was I shocked! This story had a much more complex plot than I had counted on, and it actually kept me guessing about what would happen next. Don’t get me wrong...there was still the lighthearted romantic comedy that I had hoped for, there was just a little depth, too!

In “How NOT to Spend Your Senior Year,” we follow the life of Jo O’Conner, who has spent her entire childhood switching schools ALL the time! When we meet Jo, she is ready to start her senior year, and is just hoping to stay in the same place long enough to graduate. She has mastered blending in, and hopes to do just that until she falls head over heals for Alex on her first day at Beacon High. When Jo and her dad have to move again, she is not only frustrated, but decides to take matters into her own hands and offer a possible solution. . .which works. . .kind of.

This book is written as though Jo is telling you all about her senior year and the crazy sequence of events that it contains. She narrates in a lighthearted, somewhat snarky, tone that feels like a conversation with a friend. I appreciated that Jo was down to earth, and even self-deprecating at times. She seems to know her weaknesses, but isn’t always ready to accept her strengths – something most teenagers can relate with.

While this isn’t an overwhelmingly complex book, it is a quick fun read that will keep you guessing, and probably laughing.


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