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How to Buy a Love of Reading    by Tanya Egan Gibson order for
How to Buy a Love of Reading
by Tanya Egan Gibson
Order:  USA  Can
Plume, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Carly Wells' dad has an idea that should get his unexceptional daughter into any college she chooses. He engages an author to help Carly write a book. Already spending more time than she wants with a tutor studying for the SATs, Carly is not thrilled with more demands that she make herself over. Plus she's never met a book she likes. She prefers TV.

Carly lives in Fox Glen, New York, where the residents spend most of their time trying to outdo their neighbors' latest social events. Gretchen Wells plans to introduce Carly's book at her sweet sixteen party. Until then, having an author-in-residence to show off is a perk.

Carly is overweight, insecure, and hung up on a pill popping, alcoholic, a year older than she is. Hunter is the town's golden boy but even his friendship doesn't elevate Carly's status. He's cruel when he's high and he's always high. Carly worries more that he's blacking out than about the horrible things he does during his blackouts. Hunter is a train wreck about to happen.

Bree McEnroy, Carly's writer, has her own problems. Her debut book isn't selling well and she hasn't been able to obtain another grant to carry her over until she finishes her next book. Enter Justin Leighton, a writer rock star, who knew Bree in college. He's now a recluse who lives in Fox Glen, but in spite of his panic attacks he braves her introduction party to see her.

Swift changes in point of view and shifting scenes make this novel hard to get into. When you finally do, the characters worm their way into your heart. They aren't perfect, but you'll want to find out the outcome of Carly's dad's outrageous plan, if Bree will grow as a writer, and whether or not Hunter can get clean.

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