Author: Lily Anderson
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: All the Feels by Danika Stone
The Sound of Us by Julie Hammerle
Summary (provided by publisher): Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer.
1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mom's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.
What she is going to do is pack up her determination, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and run away to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College—the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program, and her dream school. She’s also going to start over as Ever Lawrence: a new name for her new beginning. She’s even excited spend her summer with the other nerds and weirdos in the completion, like her socially-awkward roommate with neon-yellow hair, and a boy who seriously writes on a typewriter and is way cuter than is comfortable or acceptable.
The only problem with her excellent plan to secretly win the scholarship and a ticket to her future: her golden-child, super-genius cousin Isaiah has had the same idea, and has shown up at Rayevich smugly ready to steal her dreams and expose her fraud in the process.
This summer’s going to be great.
My opinion: Loosely inspired by The Importance of Being Ernest, you're probably only going to recognize the influence on this book by the constant references. Anderson quotes Wilde (as well as a number of nerdy pop culture sources) often. The quotes both serve to influence the plot and provide a little characterization. This book tries to be a comedy of errors but doesn't quite achieve that aim. We have the element of characters misrepresenting themselves but the plot has a more desperate, less comedic feel. While it's somewhat lacking in comedy, it is engaging even though the elite camp aspect won't be particularly relatable for the average reader. By focusing largely on familial expectations, Anderson presents us with characters we can understand on some level. While the ending is weak, it's largely well worth reading.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.