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Best Bet    by Laura Pedersen Amazon.com order for
Best Bet
by Laura Pedersen
Order:  USA  Can
Rising Star Press , 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

If you fell in love with Hallie Palmer in Beginner's Luck, Heart's Desire, and The Big Shuffle, you need to read her fourth and final story, Best Bet. Once again, Laura Pedersen manages to make us laugh and cry as Hallie goes through the ups and downs of life, now as an (almost) college grad.

Hallie Palmer is all set to graduate and begin her new life in Cincinnati with a career in marketing and an apartment with her boyfriend, Craig. Right as she is packing up, she receives a call saying that her dotty old advisor (now retired) made a mistake and she still needs four lab science credits to graduate. Hallie has two options continue with her plans and pick up, out of her own pocket, a lab science credit in Cincinnati or go on an around-the-world four-month sociology experiment with an uptight professor at her school. Never being one to play the safe option, Hallie goes on the trip. Not everyone is happy about it especially Craig. However, Hallie is going no matter what anyone thinks. Yet it takes being halfway around the world for Hallie to realize what it is she truly wants out of life.

Hallie has gone through many hard times since we first met her in Beginner's Luck. While each novel could be classified as a coming-of-age story, Best Bet, containing what Hallie calls her 'quarter-life crisis', is the seminal turning point of Hallie's chaotic life. Pedersen's writing is very real and down to earth, and you could not ask for a truer protagonist than Hallie Palmer. You would think that the whole book would be about Hallie's trip, but that is only half of it; there is still a lot to cover once she gets back. Pedersen handles pacing excellently, making the reader follow Hallie's highs and lows emotionally and almost physically.

Laura Pedersen has created a fitting end to her Hallie Palmer series. Best Bet is indeed a best bet for those who have read the series from the beginning. I highly recommend picking it up (as well as the first three books, if you haven't already read them).

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