Breakfast Served Anytime
I knew I had to read this YA novel when I found out that it was set at a nerd camp, a summer program for gifted and talented students. I’m an alum of geek school myself, and I was eager to read another story of the experience. Sarah Combs surpassed my expectations in her portrayal of friendship among several creative and entertaining young people in Breakfast Served Anytime.
When we meet Gloria, aspiring actress, she and best friend Carol are dreaming of their future escape to New York City. They don’t like Kentucky, and they want their real life to start, imagining artsy existences in the big city elsewhere. That’s typical of her, since she values anticipation more than the actual experience.
But before they move on, Gloria’s going to spend a month at a summer camp for promising high school seniors. The program’s set up to keep talent in the state (when so many want to leave). Gloria’s particular program even asks her not to use cellphones, computers, or other internet gadgets. That’s to help her better get to know her fellow students: Calvin, a farm son who’s brilliant and caring; Chloe, who loves France and the 1920s; and Mason, demented and imaginative.
I liked the exploration of what it means to have a state attachment, a home in a location with some things you like and some you can’t stand. I liked the course, about the magic of writing and favorite books, and I liked the way the teacher was actually honest with the kids. I liked the way not everything came with an answer; like life, there are questions, such as the one about coal mining vs. environmentalism, that didn’t have easy solutions.
I loved the scavenger hunt that bonds the four friends together. I loved how smart and passionate and involved they all were, and how exhilarating their conversation and interactions could be. I miss that feeling of life before you, of discovery and wonder and intellectual exploration. Breakfast Served Anytime captures and shares that well. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)