Saturday, August 1, 2009

BR: Carpe Diem

by Autumn Cornwell

First, Happy August!

Carpe Diem is a novel about an overachiever, Vassar, who is sent to visit her eccentric grandmother over the summer. That is, instead of taking Latin lessons, AP and AAP (Advanced Advanced Placment) courses. Oh, and don't forget, 5.3 is the new 4.0 GPA, plus the plan for Valedictorian. Apparentley, the grandmother has some sort of Big Secret that is used to blackmail Vassar's parents into making her go to Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia).

The motto of the journey is LIM (live in the moment), something that Vassar has never done in her life... her mom is a life coach, her dad is an efficeincy expert. They have a nightly "Hour of Reflection" to discuss life plans. Vassar has her whole life planned out, and this "vacation" is the one thing that is not gonna go according to the non-existent plan. LIMMING! Of course, there's a boy (there's always a boy), but this time, he's an Asian cowboy who's unconventionally sweet.

During the summer, Vassar learns that there doesn't need to be a plan for life, along with discovering the Big Secret.I liked Carpe Diem for different reasons, and one is because it has some really funny moments. Imagine getting yourself into one of the most ridiculous positions, then having to have a boy you "find somewhat attractive" to bail you out; but not before a polaroid, of course. Or learning to piss into a bottle, then proceed to hold that bottle during your first kiss. Yes, there are some LOL moments.

I also liked the "message" given in the story, about planning, the unexpected, and living in the moment. Carpe Diem, or "Seize the Day". A fitting title. Vassar learns that sometimes you can "let go" and live your life, not a life someone else has planned for you (Vassar is the name of an Elite Women's College...where Vassar plans on attending with her 5.3 GPA)

Oh, and I thought Hanks, the Asian cowboy, was adorable. Acting as her "guardian", he has some simply hilarious moments. He's really sweet, and is sometimes nicer than Vassar deserves. The grandmother was also really cool, with her "Art" searching, and her view on the world and life. It was unique, different, and probably exactly what Vassar needed in order to not turn into a snobby, stuck-up Pulitzer Prize winning person with a 6'5 blond surgeon husband (it's in the Plan!)

A few things I didn't really like was that some parts were pretty unrealistic. I felt that the Miracle was unlikely and kind of cheesy. Vassar was also just an okay character, I didn't really "feel" her change, apart from her announcing how different she was. The novel didn't really evolve her, but I guess that's okay, since it was pretty good anyways.

8.4/10 - because some parts were unrealistic, I didn't really love-love-love the characters, and the writing was okay. The plot and message were pretty good, and I guessed the Big Secret pretty early on. I'm not really sure what group to recommend this to, I guess just people who want to read about adventures and different-ish characters.



  1. The holding a bottle of piss during the first kiss part was probably my favorite. For some reason I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was hilarious even if it seemed unrealistic at times.

  2. Haha, I know what you mean, there are those priceless moments where you just have to put down the book and laugh. I also especially liked the part where she gets stuck in the toilet and Hanks takes a picture...
    btw, you're review was what led me to this book, so thanks ;)


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