The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando

Mary has one last shot to make some high school memories with her best friends. She wants it to be special, she wants it to be different than everything else. She wants to be daring and even reckless. She wants to break out of her underdog "also-ran" stereotype, and walk away with the Yeti as the victors of the unofficial Senior Scavenger Hunt. This is their last chance to shove something in that jerk Barbone's face, and to prove to herself that she is more than just the girl who almost won class VP, who almost got into Georgetown...this isn't just a dumb scavenger hunt, ok? This is her legacy. Hell, she snuck out for this!

Teaming up with her best friends Patrick, Dez, and Winter, they get the list from last year's winners, headed up by the enviable Leticia: former class prez. Some of the stuff on list will be easy, but others? "Put your name in lights - 150, A scratch 'n' sniff that smells like piƱa colada - 35, A stone-cold lady near the lake in the sky will amaze you with a clue - 1" They aren't even sure what some of these mean...time is ticking away, so they are off. First stop: Home Depot. Dez's dad hooks them up, and even runs some interference after they leave. "Shuck a Mary on the half shell - 100," Mary not only knows what that means, but she knows where to find one. The question is, should she take a family heirloom? Tonight is about being reckless and living a little, right? It's not like she won't bring it back.

They're doing pretty well until a confrontation with Team Idiot leaves Dez in need of a trip to the hospital. After ensuring that he is okay, and getting his blessing to continue, they are more determined than ever to stick it to Barbone and his team of apes. Round one complete, it's on to Round two. They think they're on to one of the big clues which could mean serious points in the end, or it could mean nothing if they can't figure it out. Not to mention the serious drama going on between her crush Carson, and her best friend Winter. After breaking up with his girlfriend between rounds, Carson joined their team. At first, Mary thought there might be sparks between them, but as the night wears on, it soon becomes clear that things are much more complicated.

There are moments when it seems the entire group is just going to split up and never talk to each other again. Why doesn't anyone else think this is as important as she does? Don't they realize that this is their last shot at making memories and changing people's opinions of them? Why is Patrick being so weird!? Can they really pull this off, and stick it to Barbone and his crew? One last blast of high school before the summer begins in earnest. Will they walk away with the Yeti? I guess they'll find out soon enough.

This is a fun read, and really made me want to throw a scavenger hunt. There's some coming of age, along with some life lessons, but nothing too overwhelming. This is the last blast of high school in book form. Remember the good, let go of the bad, and accept the things you are never going to change.

*Library Link*
"And then I wondered what sort of stuff I didn't want to forget, then I wondered how much of any of this I would remember in the end. Like if I lived to be as old as Eleanor. I sort of hoped that I'd forget most of what I'd already experienced of life. Not because it was so bad, but because it was so ordinary. I hadn't ever left the country, or made love, or gotten married, or skydived. Not that I was sure I ever would skydive but if I did - if life presented the opportunity and motivation - I hoped I'd remember that when I was old - the feeling of flying, of free-falling, of total liberation - and not this awkward conversation with a boy who was once my best friend. I wanted to remember Italy and Paris, rip cords and parachutes. Love, too. Even loss.
But not this," (Altebrando pg. 62, 2012).
If you liked this, check out:

Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando
From What I Remember by Valerie Thomas and Stacy Kramer
Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Altebrando, Tara. (2012). The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life. New York: Dutton Books.

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