Source: Provided for review by author
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IT'S ONLY 99 CENTS, GUYS!!!
Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day!
High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game all on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a popular pretty boy who's never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.
All Cameron wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition. When he finds love with a mysterious young woman, however, he realizes his only hope for survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place..
My first thought was probably a common one. I immediately thought Happy Birthday to Me sounded just like a hybrid between Beastly and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. One book I quite enjoyed and the other a movie I loved. (I just couldn't get into the Beastly movie like I could the book...) I thought, "What could go wrong?" Then I realized there were tons of things that could go wrong. Luckily, they didn't! (Muahahaha. I set that one up good.)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Happy Birthday to Me. I thought the premise was a good one. The plot ran at a good pace, and I really found we got a good look at Cameron and grew to care about him, though it certainly looked doubtful at the beginning. Cameron's character arc was definitely the best part of the book for me. Even when he was a jerk at the beginning, I could tell there was something redeeming within him, and that helped me stay invested even when I couldn't stand him. I wanted to know if he was going to tap his potential, so I just had to keep reading! And even while he does progress as a character, he's not perfect. He's not suddenly an unerring person, and that was realistic to me.
I also enjoyed his reactions to his aging, along with his classmates'. At first he's utterly dismayed, and yet slowly he comes to accept the aging process and the feelings that come with it. While I don't know how it feels to rapidly age, or to be older than I am now, I feel like that's kind of how it is. You turn thirty and you freak out, but by the time you're fifty, you realize that good things come with age, and I kind of thought that's how Cameron felt, though he obviously didn't want to die--though who really does?
My only real complaint came with the ending. We spent a long time experiencing Cameron's feelings at his situation, which I really enjoyed, but it ended so quickly. Though I was sure of Liesel's position in the book from the beginning, she wasn't explained until very close to the end and their relationship became something big rather quickly. I liked the development itself, but I didn't like how suddenly it happened.
All in all, Happy Birthday to Me was a very enjoyable and quick read. I found the characters to be engaging and real, and enjoyed the faint paranormal elements in it. I'm exciting to read the second one, Happy Birthday to Me Again!
Risk a paper cut? If you have any inclination towards a nice, easy, and quick read (and, really, who doesn't??) you'll be in for a treat. It's hard to go wrong with Happy Birthday to Me. Come on, give yourself an early birthday present! :)