Monday, December 9, 2013

Wurst Case Scenario

2001, paperback edition from later that year, from HarperTempest
Catherine Clark
Wurst Case Scenario
Original price $6.95, purchase price unknown
Very worn paperback with broken spine

This is sort of the YA answer to Smiley's Moo (1995), in that it's set on a rural Wisconsin college campus.  But instead of roaming third-person perspective, it offers the diary of freshman Courtney V.D. (for Von Dragen) Smith, as she undergoes culture shock after leaving Colorado.  This is the sequel to Truth or Dairy, which I've read and enjoyed a couple times but have never come across a used copy of.  I remembered both books as better, say B level, and this may be a case of what is essentially a '90s book being dated but not yet enough to be campy.  Yes, you've got Courtney worrying about her mother's possible Internet romances, and finding out that her farm-girl roommate Mary Jo is cooler and a better friend than the "alternative" girl named Thyme.  But these attempts at topicality are at best quaint now.  Also, considering how much of the book is about romance-- Can Courtney and her boyfriend Grant Superior make a go of their LDR?  Or should she date "WW III," AKA Corny the corncob school mascot?-- it feels like cheating to give the book an open ending.  (I was sort or rooting for Corny myself, since Grant isn't around much in this book obviously.)

Still, Clark has a nice, light touch, with Courtney just self-aware enough to realize how ridiculous she sometimes sounds, and at least there's more mention of classes than we get in Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables university books.  As far as I know, there were no further adventures of Courtney, but the two books were reissued a few years later under new titles, this one as Rocky Road Trip, which really only covers parts of the story.

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