Book: Carpe Diem
“I’ve got my entire life planned out for the next ten years — including my PhD and Pulitzer Prize,” claims overachiever VASSAR SPORE (16), daughter of overachiever parents, who in true overachiever fashion named her after an elite women’s college. Vassar expects her sophomore summer to include AP and AAP (Advanced Advanced Placement) classes to propel her to a 5.3 GPA and Ivy League fame. Surprise! Enter long lost bohemian GRANDMA GERD (60s) who sends her plans into a tailspin: she blackmails Vassar’s parents into forcing their only child backpack with her through Southeast Asia.
Vassar freaks out – her entire academic career is at stake! She can’t believe her parents are insisting she go and that they refuse to reveal the Big Secret. But, being a Spore, Vassar soon transforms the negative into a positive by turning the trip into an extra credit novel for her AAP English class.
Vassar tries to immerse herself in her novel. But what starts out as research turns into a series of misadventures from Malaysia to Cambodia to the remote jungles of Laos. She sweats, falls in love, hones her outdoor survival skills — and uncovers a family secret that turns her whole world upside-down.
Vassar Spore can plan on one thing: she’ll never be the same again.
Book Sense Pick for Fall 2007
“Suspenseful and wonderfully detailed, the well-crafted story maintains its page-turning pace while adding small doses of cultural insight and humor.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“A witty coming-of-age adventure.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Take a traveler as reluctant as Anne Tyler’s accidental tourist and add the number of misadventures found in The Out-of-Towners, and you have the recipe for Cornwell’s hilarious, adventure-packed first novel.” –Publishers Weekly
“Anyone who has lost their luggage; felt their well-planned day, trip, or life slip through their fingers; or made a list of goals will laugh aloud and love this book.” –Book Sense
“… this first novel has its amusements and diversions, including Vassar’s share of romance with a self-styled Malaysian ‘cowboy.’ The best part, however, is the vividly realized setting. Cornwell has obviously been there and done that, and her novel is much the richer—and funnier—for it.” –Booklist
One of Publishers Weekly’s “Children’s Galleys to Grab” for Fall 2007