Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe

Book: Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe
Series: Birthday Trilogy #1
Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult
Buy A Copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Available Formats: Print / Ebook
Publication Date: April 7th, 2011

First Sentence: "The Nightmare was real."
How Did I Get This Book: For review, from author
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 all on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a popular pretty boy who's 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 finds love with a mysterious young woman, however, he realizes his only hope for survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place...

Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe was an incredibly interesting and refreshing read.
I had some difficultly warming up to Cameron, but I believe it was the intent. You aren’t supposed to love him at the beginning of the story, but it made it difficult to get into.  I will say that it made watching his progression as a character all the more worthwhile – you desperately want him to change. 

Rowe certainly wasn’t afraid to have other characters mistreat Cameron, which was really refreshing. The only story like this that I have stumbled across before is the movie Jack and the treatment of protagonist isn’t really addressed in the movie. I never considered how others would react to a condition like this; I mean it would be hard enough to deal with, can you imagine adding on the drama of other people? There are some folks in Happy Birthday to Me who treat Cameron absolutely horribly.  I did not really expect the story to go in that direction, but I am incredibly grateful that it did.

The storyline itself (not the aging aspect) is reminiscent of Alex Flinn’s Beastly, but I feel that Rowe’s book is targeted to an older audience. It’s still clearly young adult, but he takes more of a serious route with it. While Beastly feels like a fantasy, Happy Birthday to Me has more of a drama/realistic fiction feel. It obviously has elements of fantasy, but it is incredibly character-intense and character driven. 

The ending did feel a bit rushed; it did not match the pacing of the rest of the book. But all in all, Happy Birthday to Me was a solid book. I would not classify it as a page turner or an epic story, but it was entertaining, it made me think and I enjoyed reading it. 

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