for Breakfast Served Anytime
by Sarah Combs
Attending a summer academic program for talented and gifted Kentucky high school students, part of the state’s effort to retain its best and brightest, Gloria isn’t sure she’s interested in the Kentucky college scholarship that all successful attendees will earn. She and her best friend have always planned to move to New York City after high school. But the program opens her eyes to greater complexities and possibilities that exist close to home, including within her. Gloria is quick to judge others, whether it’s her wealthy roommate, Jessica, or Mason, the annoying, “look at me” boy in her literature class. She soon discovers that for all her frothy trappings, Jessica is genuine in her affection and loyalty, and Mason’s outrageous behavior is a way to deflect attention from things he’d rather not talk about. Every new friend she makes, from dazzling, smart beauty queen Sonya (whose boyfriend in their basketball-obsessed state is a phenom who understands the system but will use it as his ticket out of poverty); to brilliant, quiet, quirky Calvin; to artsy, edgy Chloe, is a small revelation both for who they are and what they teach her. Sarah Combs’s debut novel stands out in showing how teens transitioning to adulthood start to better understand their shortcomings and their strengths. Gloria is funny and genuine and self-reflective. She and the other characters are smart in believable ways in a novel that touches on a range of issues — coal mining and mountaintop removal, economic privilege, lack of privilege, racism, the value of literature in our lives — in ways that are both nuanced and believable. (Age 13 and older)
CCBC Choices 2015. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2015. Used with permission.
A coming-of-age debut evokes the bittersweet joys and pangs of finding independence in one unforgettable summer away at "geek camp."
When Gloria sets out to spend the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted and talented students, she doesn’t know quite what to expect. Fresh from the heartache of losing her grandmother and missing her best friend, Gloria resolves to make the best of her new circumstances. But some things are proving to be more challenging than she expected. Like the series of mysterious clues left by a certain Professor X before he even shows up to teach his class, Secrets of the Written Word. Or the very sweet, but very conservative, roommate whose coal-industry family champions mountaintop removal. Not to mention the obnoxious Mason, who dresses like the Mad Hatter and immediately gets on Gloria’s nerves — but somehow won’t escape her thoughts. Beautifully told by debut author Sarah Combs, this honest and touching story of growing up is imbued with the serene atmosphere of Kentucky’s natural landscape.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.