I was excited to receive a copy of Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe for review!
Cameron Martin is a good-looking, seventeen-year-old all-star basketball player, with a hot girlfriend, popularity, and a bright future. Life is pretty good. So good that he's always testing the boundaries of his popularity, including telling restaurants that it's his birthday to see if they'll believe him and reward him with free cake. They always do.
Cameron Martin is selfish, vain, and kind of a jerk.
One night, while celebrating with friends at a favorite hangout, he pushes the birthday scam too far and ticks off a waitress.
The next morning, things start to change. Cameron feels older. In fact, he's starting to look older, too. And this trend continues every day. For no explicable reason, Cameron begins to age one year for every day of his life.
His metabolism is slowing down. He's gaining weight. His body aches. His hair is thinning and turning gray. His face is looking a little too wrinkly. He doesn't look like Mr. Popularity anymore, which has people talking. And running in the other direction.
His girlfriend dumps him. His basketball coach and teammates want him off the court and out of the locker room. His plastic surgeon father goes crazy with worry and wants to fix him--literally. The only positive attention he's getting is from the high school's usually surly librarian. She used to hate Cameron. Now she wants to seduce him. Gulp!
Cameron wants his life back. He wants to look in the mirror and recognize his own face. But he has no idea how to get there. Doctors can't even properly diagnose his condition, much less cure it. While his classmates are planning futures filled with college and exciting careers, Cameron might not live to see graduation.
At first, I disliked Cameron. I mean, really, really disliked him. But as the story progressed, I started to feel bad for him and all the suffering he was forced to endure. I felt his aches and pains. I became more and more nervous with each chapter title announcing how much older Cameron had become and didn't want him to die.
What an interesting idea for a book! I knew when I read the synopsis that I'd enjoy it. Brian Rowe definitely did not disappoint with this fast-moving, startling reminder to cherish each day, never take anything for granted, treat people with kindness, and look beyond the surface.
I hope Cameron holds on to the lessons he learned. I know I won't forget the them. Or him, for that matter. I look forward to finding out what happens next in the trilogy (Happy Birthday To Me Again is scheduled for publication in the fall).
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