My favorite Clark novel is her most serious:
The Alison Rules
"You're begging her?" [Laurie] asked. "You'll have to work up to that. That's one of the Alison rules."
"Alison rules?" Patrick repeated.
"Yeah. Don't worry - you'll find out," Laurie said.
After Alison's mother passes away, she is reluctant to confide in anyone other that her long-time best friend Laurie. Alison decides to play it safe, rather than be sorry later.
Continue to read my review of The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark at Bildungsroman.
Check out my blog post at SparkLife about The Alison Rules.
Wish You Were Here
Before leaving for her summer road trip with her family, there are a few things Ariel has to do:
1) Go to Target (she's been there five times in two days to prepare for her trip)
2) Pack up her Skittles (she has six bags stashed in her desk drawer)
3) Say good-bye to her "semi-new, semi-boyfriend" Dylan (they've been dating for two weeks)
4) Temporarily give her cat to her paternal grandparents (Gloves can't come on their trip)
5) Stock up on postcards and stamps (so she can write to Dylan, her friend Sarah, and, yes, even Gloves)
Continue to read my review of Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark.
Three of my favorite Clark comedies have been reprinted with new titles and new covers:
Better Latte Than Never (previously published as Frozen Rodeo)
A teenage girl's summer adventures include being chased by a crazy dog, working at the local Gas 'n' Git with a guy who thinks he's Bono, and attending a summer school French course taught by substitutes who don't actually know the language.
Written in first person present tense, Better Latte Than Never (previously published as Frozen Rodeo) focuses on a teenager named Peggy. Middle name, Fleming. Her father is an amateur figure skater turned real estate agent and her mother is a very pregnant weather forecaster. Due to her father's career, the children all have been named in honor of famous skaters. The five year old twins are named Torvill and Dean. The quiet and thoughtful three year old is called Dorothy. That in itself is sure to crack up any skating fan - but wait, there's more.
Peggy, who opts to go by Fleming, has a very interesting summer. After getting into multiple car accidents - in which she remains unscathed, but sadly cannot say the same for the vehicles - she is no longer allowed to drive and gets a job at the local Gas 'n' Git to pay her father back. Meanwhile, she takes a French class taught by a string of unqualified substitutes, fights her attraction for the cute waiter at IHOP, befriends a girl named Charlotte with a wild streak and bickers with her co-worker, Denny, who has an obsession with U2 and often attempts to look, sound and act like his idol, Bono.
Anyone who has ever lived in a small town and dreamed of getting out of it will echo Fleming's thoughts about her city; anyone who has felt pressured to take care of their younger siblings will sympathize with her family plight.
With a solid ending that ties every subplot and character together, I give this book a perfect score.
Banana Splitsville (previously published as Truth or Dairy)
Rocky Road Trip (previously published as Wurst Case Scenario)
Courtney Von Dragen Smith thought everything was going well for her. She had a great boyfriend, a job at a cool cafe with her best friend, and a family that was somewhat average, somewhat odd (depending on the family member). Senior year was about to begin, with great promise.
Then her boyfriend went to college and broke up with her. Then her dog ran away. Repeatedly. In an effort to minimize the chaos surrounding her, she makes two huge decisions: she will stop dating, and she will become vegan.
Easier said than done. She falls on and off the vegan wagon on a fairly regular basis, temped by tasty treats at the Truth or Dairy cafe. Her dog runs away again. Her classmates give her grief. Her brother sets his sights on her best friend. Courtney describes these and other melodramas in her diary, making for easy-to-follow laugh-out-loud stories.
Her freshman year of college is chronicled in the sequel. Rocky Road Trip is just as good if not better than the first, and it is also written as a diary.
Icing on the Lake
So Inn Love
Visit Catherine Clark's website and blog.
Also visit the website of Sasha Illingworth, whose artwork is featured on the covers of Maine Squeeze, Icing on the Lake, Banana Splitsville, Rocky Road Trip, Better Latte Than Never, and Picture Perfect. She has also provided the art and/or design for many other book covers you'll recognize.