#3 on our book challenge list: Read a young adult novel.
Coincidentally, Kindle First free books offered up just such a tome, “The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland”, so my choice was made.
It’s been a while since I read a YA novel, but the kids-in-the-nurse’s-office (KITNO) often had their heads buried in Twilight or Mockingjay or The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I considered those titles, and still do.
Grover Cleveland, however, was a pleasant little book that I read in a couple of sittings while we were on vacation. It’s the story of Zander, a girl from Arizona who is sent to a camp in Michigan for troubled teens. The teens at Camp Padua are cutters, bulemics, anorexics, compulsive liars, rule-breakers…and some have even tried to break Rule #1: thou shalt not kill thyself.
Zander seems so normal compared to her bizarre cabin mates. A straight-A student, she dutifully follows her mother’s extreme eating rules. She wins swim meets to please her father. She’s the perfect teen daughter every parent dreams of, so what’s she doing at a camp full of crazy kids?
Zander meets Cassie, an abrasive, foul-mouthed anorexic girl who slings insults and hides pills. Zander and Cassie become friends with Grover Cleveland, a kid who is convinced that he is going to grow up to be shizophrenic like his father. There is Alex Trebek, a compulsive liar (is that his Real name?), who is hilarious.
While a lot of the conversations were so witty and wise that they seemed unrealistic, I’ve heard some pretty smart-ass, messed-up kids that really are that funny/tragic. Unrealistic was the part where the camp counselors don’t seem to be watching the kids very closely….
We find out Zander’s tragic secret (the reason she is at camp). Her friendship with Cassie saves her (Cassie). Grover and Alex are a hilarious duo. I laughed one minute, cried the next… Everything ends predictably, but happily, and they all agree to meet up back at camp next year.
The author, Rebekah Crane, writes the dialogues well, keeps the scenes moving, and develops these characters into kids we’re really rooting for. As mentioned, I’ve been around a lot of kids with emotional problems and I wish they all could meet a Grover, though they would probably dismiss Zander as too “prep” for them.
I love happy endings, but these are kids, and I find myself wondering how things turned out in the long run. If Ms. Crane writes a #2, I’ll be right there to catch up with them.
Next up on the challenge: Read a book with a color in the title.