Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

Downloadable Audiobook - 2008
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A witty coming-of-age travel adventure about a teen and her grandmother backpacking through Southeast Asia together for a summer. "I've got my entire life planned out for the next ten years--including my Ph.D. and Pulitzer Prize," claims sixteen-year-old overachiever Vassar Spore, the daughter of overachiever parents, who named her after an elite women's college. Vassar expects her sophomore summer to include both AP and AAP (Advanced Advanced Placement) classes. Surprise! Enter a world-traveling relative who sends her plans into a tailspin when she blackmails Vassar's parents into forcing their only child to backpack with her through Southeast Asia. On a journey from Malaysia to Cambodia to the remote jungles of Laos, Vassar is faced with things she isn't prepared for--adventure, danger, a Malaysian cowboy-slash-bodyguard her own age--and in learning to "live in the moment" uncovers a family secret that turns her world upside-down. Vassar Spore can plan on one thing: She'll never be the same again.
Publisher: New York : Listening Library, 2008.
ISBN: 9780739363980
Branch Call Number: ONLINE
Additional Contributors: Houck, Lynde
Listening Library

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Dec 04, 2014

A girl raised by a life coach and an author of books on planning is bound to be a little obsessive. Vasser Spore goes to the Seattle Academy for Academic Excellence and dreams of attending Vasser (an elite womens' university after which she was named). Her plans do not include a wild backpacking tour of south-east asia with her grandmother and an Asian cowboy named Hanks.
Full of caricatured people and surprisingly well drawn places, I found Carpe Diem a strange mix of the comic and the familiar. I could identify with some of her culture shock, the squat toilets being a favourite of the author, but I also found myself wishing Vasser would be less arrogant. She is far from open to the experience, especially to begin with. At times she can come across as ignorant and quite rude, which made me cringe.
Still, the slowly blooming relationship between Vasser and Hank is amusing, and the 'big secret' worth finding out. The ending is satisfying enough.
In terms of audio, the book was well read. No extra sound effects or music.

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