Title: Happy Birthday to Me
Author: Brian Rowe
Published: April 2011 by CreateSpace
My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Family | Realistic/Fantasy
First Lines: The nightmare was real. My face was covered with sweat. My legs were killing me, and my back felt like someone had run it down with a semi truck.
Cameron Martin, a senior in high school, is living on cloud nine. He's dating the beautiful Charisma, is a star on the basketball team, is popular, handsome, and waiting for his acceptance letter to Yale. But all this changes one day when he wakes up older. And by older, I mean an entire year older. Soon, every day that passes, Cameron is aging a whole year. First comes the beard, followed by the slowing metabolism, and even worse, gray hair. Cameron's life drastically changes in a matter of weeks, as he quickly becomes even older than his parents.
The premise of this story was really intriguing and caught my attention right away. The book never dragged at all or became boring at times. The author created a good set of characters and it was pretty interesting reading from a guy's point of view, which I'm not used to. Cameron's character was very believable and realistic. His emotions were spot on and I could distinguish each reaction to his condition well - he went through doubt, anger, sadness, etc. The role the parents played in this young adult book was also interesting. They were present at mostly all times in the story and it was nice having this change in YA. Their emotions were also very realistic to their son's mysterious condition. Cameron's best friend, Wesley, was a memorable and original character that I enjoyed getting to know. Even when everyone else seemed to run away from Cameron, Wesley stayed and supported him through his tough time. Charisma on the other hand...ugh. She was one of the most annoying and selfish people I've ever read in a book but contributed so much to the story and was fun to read about. Overall, I really liked the characters, even the ones I wasn't supposed to like.
From page 129
Some people in the hallways gave me sad looks, and others turned away from me, as if they assumed that my condition was contagious. I thought it would be interesting if everyone started aging rapidly over the next few weeks, but I didn't see that happening. This was an obstacle for me to solve alone.
Even though the actual writing itself wasn't the greatest I've ever read, the story itself made up for it. Cameron's unique illness, aging rapidly every day, was so creative and there was even a little message behind the story. The mix between genres in the book, realistic and fantasy, surprisingly meshed well together. If Cameron's condition really did exist, then this could be such a believable novel. I think that the ending was a bit ridiculous and over the top, but it definitely left room for the sequel (which I'm excited to read!). I have no idea what will happen next in Cameron's story but I can't wait to find out.
Cover Thoughts: I think it suits the novel well and it catches your attention. I had many people stop and stare, before asking what I was reading. I like how the text looks like smoke, too.