Title: Breakfast Served Anytime
Author: Sarah Combs
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
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 loving 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.
Books like Sarah Combs' Breakfast Served Anytime are the reason I love contemporary stories as much as I do. This was a quiet story that completely drew me in and held me captive the whole way through. And after having read this story, I am ready to read just about anything Sarah Combs writes.
Gloria Bishop thought she knew what she would be doing after her high school graduation. For as long as she can remember, she and Carol, her best friend, having been planning their great escape to New York City where Gloria will act and Carol will dance. But since her grandmother's death, Gloria isn't so sure that's what she wants anymore. To help her decide, Gloria decides to go to "Geek Camp" for four weeks, but the experience is not what Gloria thought it was. Her professor sends mysterious letters to her class, her roommate, though sweet, doesn't share many of Gloria's opinions, and then there's Mason. Mason, the boy who always gets on Gloria's last nerve, but who she can't seem to stop thinking about. But over the course of those four weeks, Gloria will discover just who she is, and more importantly, who she wants to be.
It's no secret that I love contemporary stories, and if I listened to myself, I wouldn't read much else. Every once in a while though, I'll pick up a book and as I'm reading, I'm reminded of just why contemporary is my favourite genre. This was the case with Sarah Combs' debut, Breakfast Served Anytime. The best way I can think of to describe this story is quiet. This wasn't a story with a big and crazy concept, it wasn't a story that was wild. Instead it was a story that was more subdued, but that was still powerful. Because this story isn't really about the plot. Sure there are events and those events lead to some of the character development, but if you ask me, Breakfast Served Anytime is about the characters. Well, character. Because this is Gloria's story in all senses of the word. These four weeks spent at Geek Camp are about Gloria understanding who she is and who she wants to be, away from her regular life. And I loved that about Breakfast Served Anytime--how almost introspective it was. It was the textbook definition of a coming-of-age story. And to make things even better, it was set in summer AND at camp. So this story? I loved it.
In many ways, this story is very introspective. Sure Gloria comments on what goes on in the world around her, and on her relationships with the other people at Geek Camp, but it's very much about her and how she'd slowly discovering exactly who she is. It's very often about how what other people say or do make Gloria think about her own opinions on certain subjects or how her actions compare to the actions of others. So I really loved seeing her thoughts and her reactions to the other members of her class. I loved how protective she could become of Calvin, how quickly she became friends with Chloe despite her reservations, and the way she just let Mason get under her skin. I just enjoyed seeing Gloria's growth over the course of the story, coming to realize just who she is, and what she wants her future to look like, including the people she wants in that future. But what struck me the most, was just how real Gloria felt, and in turn how real her growth felt. And that's what made the story resonate with me.
Sarah Combs' Breakfast Served Anytime was a whole lot more than I thought it was going to be. I didn't expect to read a quiet story that would resonate with me, but I loved every page of it. I can't wait to read more from Sarah Combs.