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Breakfast Served Anytime

by Sarah Combs

Published by Candlewick Press, 2014
272 pages
ISBN: 9780763667917

Age 13 and older

Attending a summer academic program for talented and gifted Kentucky high school students that’s part of the state’s effort to retain its best and brightest, Gloria isn’t sure she’s interested in the Kentucky college scholarship that all successful attendees will earn. She and her best friend have always planned to move to New York City after high school. But Geek Camp, as Gloria calls it, opens her eyes to greater complexities and possibilities that exist close to home, including within her. Gloria is quick to judge others, whether it’s her wealthy roommate, Jessica, or Mason, the annoying, “look at me” boy in her literature class. She soon discovers that for all her frothy trappings, Jessica is genuine in her affection and loyalty, and Mason’s outrageous behavior is a way to deflect attention from things he’d rather not talk about. Every new friend she makes, from dazzling, smart, beauty queen Sonya (whose boyfriend in their basketball-obsessed state is a phenom who understands the system but will use it as his ticket out of poverty); to brilliant, quiet, quirky Calvin; to artsy, edgy Chloe, is a small revelation both for who they are and what they teach her. Sarah Combs’s debut novel stands out in showing how teens transitioning to adulthood start to better understand their shortcomings and their strengths. Gloria is funny and genuine and self-reflective. She and the other characters are smart in believable ways in a novel that touches on a range of issues--coal mining and mountaintop removal, economic privilege, lack of privilege, racism, the value of literature in our lives--in ways that are both nuanced and believable.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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