"A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend"
By Emily Horner
Pub. Date: June 6, 2010
Synopsis: For months, Cass has heard her best friend, Julia, whisper about a secret project. When Julia dies in a car accident, her drama friends decide to bring the project--a musical called Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad--to fruition. But Cass isn't a drama person. She can't take a summer of painting sets, and she won't spend long hours with Heather, the girl who made her miserable all through middle school and has somehow landed the leading role. So Cass takes off. In alternating chapters, she spends the first part of summer on a cross-country bike trip and the rest swallowing her pride, making props, and--of all things--falling for Heather. This is a story of the breadth of love. Of the depth of friendship. And of the most hilarious musical one quiet suburb has ever seen.
I was very impressed by Emily Horner's debut book; it had a lot of depth making it a great coming of age story. It deals with many classic topics such as sexuality, teasing, first love, friendship and grieving. Cass goes on her own journey to escape the past while searching for her identity. Many readers will be able to relate to Cass's feeling and may have gone through similar experiences. I really liked Heather's character and thought Horner did a great job at making her likable even with her treatment of Cass in the past. Even though Julia was dead, she still had a presence in the book and I felt like I knew her.
This book covers a lot of serious topics, but is able to stay upbeat and funny at the same time. Cass has a great cast of friends even if she doesn't realize it at the beginning. They can be goofy while still being good friends when it matters most. The play adds another level of humor, but is also what brings about many of the conflicts. Cass's bicycling trip is just one step that helps her move on with her life having both it's quirky, memorable and scary, "what will happen next" moments.
I am so glad I signed up for the Debut Author Challenge because I may not have picked up this book otherwise. I am attracted to this cover, but I am so far behind on my reading I don't know if I would have picked it up. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy Sarah Dessen or John Green. I think this would make a great Summer Reading book or book club selection.