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Welcome To Geek Camp

Prepare for the best summer of your life with Sarah Combs' Breakfast Served Anytime.

Welcome To Geek Camp

BOOK REPORT for Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs

Cover Story: Wholesome
BFF Charm: Make It Rain
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit
Bonus Factors: Geek Camp, Kickass Gram
Relationship Status: Bosom Friends

Cover Story: Wholesome

There's nothing particularly terrible about this cover, but it's just so g-d bland, which is the exact opposite of its contents. Sure, the butterflies and the diner are both key elements to the story, but the artwork would be better suited for some kind of Christian devotional book. And this story deserves better than to be mistaken for some kind of Chicken Soup for the Soul shizz.

The Deal:

It's the summer before senior year, and Gloria is headed off to Geek Camp at the University of Kentucky. While she's already got her post-graduate plan (moving to NYC with her bestie, Carol) in place, Glo can't help her excitement over a few weeks on a college campus, especially given the mystery surrounding her chosen "major": Secrets of the Written Word. Her fellow classmates turn out to be a small but dynamic crew, although one in particular, Mason, might cause Gloria's eyes to roll permanently into her head. As Glo and her fellow adventurers explore everything from the tomb of Thomas McGrath to the menu at the Egg Drop Café to the glorious landscape of Kentucky, they decipher secrets, not only of the written word, but of the heart.

BFF Charm: Make It Rain

No exaggeration, I love every freaking character in this book. (Okay, with the exception of Meghan, an administrative assistant that appears on a sum total of four pages.)

Gloria, the main heroine, is fiercely intelligent and wonderfully contemplative. I immediately knew we were kindred spirits, so much so that if I took a drink for every time I related to her, I would've been hospitalized after 100 pages. I mean, try to read this passage and NOT want to immediately be her best friend:

Swivet: I spent most of my childhood thinking my dad had made that word up. When in ninth grade I encountered it in a book somewhere, I felt bereft to discover it belonged not just to me but to the world in general. What a buzzkill! Story of my life.

She's nerdy but cool, opinionated but thoughtful, and her sense of humor is endearingly clever:

Who hasn't been driven to insanity by the mocking face of an industrial classroom clock? Every single one I've ever gazed upon has operated at the infuriating speed of molten lava. I have measured out my life with coffee spoons, says J. Alfred Prufrock. Yeah, well. I've measured out my life through the molten-lava ticks of classroom clocks.

I could go on and on about Glo, but I want to give some shout-outs to some other superstars:

Carol, Gloria's sassy best friend, who had me at this conversation:

"Okay," Carol said. "Just don't expect me to be all prolific. I'm going to hold you personally responsible when my ass gets carpal tunnel. "
"I'm pretty sure your carpals are in your wrist, not your ass."
"Well. Then kiss my carpals, byotch."

Glo's roommate, Jessica, a stand-up girl with surprising layers, and her friend Sonya, a total BAMF.

And, of course, Gloria's classmates, Chloe, a teeny spitfire, and ginger farm boy Calvin, who truly does contain multitudes. Calvin, dude, don't tell Glo, but you were kind of my favorite.

Then there's Mason… more on him below.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

While there's not much kissing in this book, Sarah Combs made me sigh heavily (in a good way) on multiple occasions by pulling me into the dreamy realm of Gloria's mind. From her memories of Alex, her first real crush, to her slow-burning enemistry with Mason, the romantic undercurrent of the book is gently electric-- not enough to sizzle, but definitely enough to, say, raise the hair on your arms. What really got me was the way Glo navigated her feelings, because it mirrored my own adolescent fumbling with desires:

It's weird, how thinking about Alex is the thing, the treasure. I think if I spent half the time actually being with him that I spend thinking about him, it might somehow break the spell.

I mean, RIGHT? As for Mason, he had a lot to overcome to gain my affection, including Glo's bias against him and, most importantly, the fact that he wears a top hat for the first half of the book. A TOP HAT. I can't fault Gloria for immediately despising him, but fortunately, he gets some (very tingly) moments of redemption.

Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit

The writing in this book, y'all. THE WRITING! It is straight up PERFECTION. Combs totally nails the teen dialogue while also capturing the complexities of adolescent emotion, resulting in a deeply compelling and piercingly authentic portrait of a girl on the verge of adulthood. The opening chapter ushered me easily into Gloria's brain, where I happily took up residence and soaked in thoughts like this one:

Cocooned in the music, I could suspend myself in that moment of discovery-- a moment I prolonged as long as I could before giving in completely to an anticipation that I felt as an actual ache in my cheeks, the ache of biting into something so sweet that the thrill of the sugar makes your face hurt.

Comb's words create a powerful impact, whether you sense it as a pang in your heart or as a warm flush of recognition, and while Gloria's journey is, in many ways, quietly ordinary, to experience this crucial summer in her life feels like a rare and precious gift.

Also, I want to apologize to anyone who borrows my copy of the book, because that shizz is dog-eared like nobody's business.

Bonus Factor: Geek Camp

As I've probably mentioned in a previous review, my only true camp experience in high school was a creative writing program at Duke. Just like Glo, I had THE TIME OF MY LIFE pretending to be a real life college student with my fellow nerds on that gorgeous campus. Everything about Geek Camp, from the fast friendships to the late night game of Flashlight Tag, hit me with a welcome wave of nostalgia, and I relished the opportunity to relive such a life-changing experience through Gloria's eyes.

Bonus Factor: Kickass Gram

Although she's no longer living, Gloria's grandmother, GoGo, remains a vital figure in Glo's life, and it's easy to see why. GoGo was a vivacious, straight-talkin' lady, and she inspired the Gloria Bishop Book of Ephemera, which is one of my favorite tidbits in the book.

Casting Call:

Eliza Taylor as Gloria

Nat Wolff as Mason

Relationship Status: Bosom Friends

Like Anne Shirley and Diana Barry, this book and I were destined to be besties. I was immediately taken in by its engaging premise, and I gladly fell under the spell of its evocative storytelling. With an incredibly dynamic cast of characters that truly sprang to life from its pages, this book is a wonderful companion that really gets me, and whether we're getting drunk on "raspberry cordial" or arguing over the Greatest American Novel, we're having the best time, just geeking out together.

FTC Full Disclosure: Alison at the Morris Book Shop in Lexington, KY sent me this book and told me I would love it. She was right! I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (dammit). Breakfast Served Anytime is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).