Friday, December 16, 2011

[Review + Giveaway] Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe

Title: Happy Birthday To Me {goodreads}
Authors: Brian Rowe
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 25/10/11
Publisher: CreateSpace
Source: For review (thanks to the author!)
Age: 15+ Sexual references, mild swearing?
Pages: 315

My Rating:
Satisfying read

Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day!

High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a mischievous pretty boy who has never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.

All Cameron wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition. When he falls for a mysterious young woman, however, he realizes that the only hope for his survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place...
My thoughts: 

I was initially intrigued when it was pitched to me, but I'm always just that bit more cautious with indie/self-published novels. The idea that someone could start aging a year of their life with each passing day is a fun concept, and Brian Rowe executed it well enough. An entertaining read all around, not without its moments of pure laugh-out-loud hilarity.

In Happy Birthday To Me, seventeen-year-old Cameron is the popular guy everyone wants to be or be with. He and his friends, exhilerated after a great basketball game, visit their favourite cafe/restaurant, where Cameron has a running joke: wherein everyone pretends it's his birthday and they receive birthday cake. It's just a harmless prank. Until it actually happens -- Cameron begins to age at a rapid rate, and no doctor can diagnose this hideous nightmare.
He's got the state championship basketball game, graduation and the prom! Unsatisfied with the prospect of living out the rest of his days as a research project at some lab, he takes it upon himself to finish high school, no matter what. Even if he becomes an 80 year old man on the outside and can barely walk.

I liked the outline of the book - every chapter denounces a new age that Cameron has stepped into. They really helped keep structure; it was also great to find out that something new had changed with him as he aged. That was without a doubt one of my favourite aspects of this book - imagining, for instance, a 50 year old man, creaking joints and all, playing on the high school basketball team.

Cameron himself, is, well, a pretty boy. Which equates to mean that I did not like him. Ha! He's cocky and selfish and stubborn and ignorant to everything that does not revolve around him. Tell me how that's supposed to be attractive, in any world? As he does age, we see some character progression, which was a bit cliche, but I did end up liking him more by the end of it all. He grows as a person, and sees the truth to his once-perfect life, which comes to light when he starts to age and is no longer the golden boy everyone loved.

Even worse than Cameron himself, is Charisma. His girlfriend. But then, all things considered, they're a match made in heaven then. Since the popular crowd are obviously so shallow, she ends up sneaking off with Cameron's best friend, who just doesn't get it. Everyone at the school annoyed me, and it just magnified everything I don't miss about high school (not that my grade had anyone NEARLY so shallow). The one character who had the potential to at least stay on my good side, was Liesl.

Liesl is harmless enough, and she ends up coming off okay with me. I didn't like her either, granted, but I didn't despise her and that's something. She remains such a mystery for the majority of the book, and maybe that's why I didn't dislike her. What did irk me is what she did, which I won't spoil here. Let's just say she does something really immature, which felt so out of character for her, if I ever knew her at all. Overall I thought she was a sweet character, whose emotions were sincere, true intentions.

The real standout for me is the writing. It's nowhere near polished. But. It's in the humor of it all. I enjoyed myself so much, despite the fact that I couldn't stand most of the characters. I was somehow able to dismiss that, because they did not matter to me. In the end it's about Cameron and his journey of self-discovery, and him finding out that his perfect life wasn't all that perfect.

Happy Birthday To Me happily sits with other good, fun paranormal YA novels on the market - if you're not too picky with characters, or cliche school cliques, you'll find much to like in the humorous antics, as you follow Cameron's fall from grace, day by day. Recommended for 15+ boys and fans of basketball . . . and birthdays.


* cheapest Australian e-store price


Fishpond * | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile


All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: ---


Sorry guys. Aussie only!

1x winner to receive: Paranormal pack
  • Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe
  • 1 other paranormal YA book on my "giveaway" list (I'll email you the options)
  • Assorted paranormal YA swag, including Clockwork Angel notebook
  • Signed by Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel mini-poster
So what do you have to do to be in the draw?

Just comment and answer the question: 
WHY is Cameron aging a year with every passing day? 
Be as crazy as you want to be

You HAVE to include your email with your comment, or else your entry will not count.

Following is not required.
If you do follow, let me know under what GFC name you follow my blog for an extra entry.

Giveaway ends 31/12. Spread the word, if you want to! I won't mind. ;)

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