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Breakfast Served Anytime
     

Breakfast Served Anytime

4.5 2
by Sarah Combs
 

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A coming-of-age debut evokes the bittersweet joys and pangs of finding independence in one unforgettable summer away at "geek camp." When Gloria sets out to spend the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted and talented students, she doesn’t know quite what to expect. Fresh from the heartache of losing her grandmother and missing her best friend,

Overview

A coming-of-age debut evokes the bittersweet joys and pangs of finding independence in one unforgettable summer away at "geek camp." When Gloria sets out to spend the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted and talented students, she doesn’t know quite what to expect. Fresh from the heartache of losing her grandmother and missing her best friend, Gloria resolves to make the best of her new circumstances. But some things are proving to be more challenging than she expected. Like the series of mysterious clues left by a certain Professor X before he even shows up to teach his class, Secrets of the Written Word. Or the very sweet, but very conservative, roommate whose coal-industry family champions mountaintop removal. Not to mention the obnoxious Mason, who dresses like the Mad Hatter and immediately gets on Gloria’s nerves — but somehow won’t escape her thoughts. Beautifully told by debut author Sarah Combs, this honest and touching story of growing up is imbued with the serene atmosphere of Kentucky’s natural landscape.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/14/2014
Combs's debut introduces a vivid, self-aware protagonist at a significant juncture in her life. A sensitive introvert with a penchant for believing in signs, Gloria spends the summer before her senior year on a college campus at a four-week camp for gifted students. There, she enrolls in "Secrets of the Written Word," offered by eccentric Professor X, who challenges his students to leave all "technoparaphernalia" at home, resulting in a very small class of willing participants. Gloria surrenders herself to the immediacy of her surroundings, untethered from social media, immersed in literature, and experiencing independence for the first time. She quickly bonds with fellow students who cause her to question her political, social, and philosophical values, as well as her desires for the future. Infused with romance and intellectual energy, Combs's story eloquently captures the euphoria and transformation that can arise from an intense period of personal introspection. Gloria's Whitmanesque quest for visceral experience is exciting and inspiring, as is her ability to recognize the significance of quiet moments as they unfold. Ages 12–up. Agent: Elizabeth Kaplan, Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
This debut novel is a gem. It captures and holds the sweet essence of those fiercely intense relationships that often blossom during the enforced intimacy of sharing rooms and assignments. It handles literature, friendship, heartbreak, and joy with equal tenderness. ... This is a beautifully written coming-of-age novel with characters so detailed readers feel that they know them and dialogue so natural, readers feel as though they said it.
—VOYA

Gloria’s upbeat attitude, effectively depicted through her often funny, too-quickly-judgmental voice and the ineffable enthusiasm of the campers she encounters, offers a satisfying, thoughtful take on growing up. In a promising debut, Combs crafts a strong, memorable female character and a broad collection of fully fleshed-out secondary players who share a magical summer.
—Kirkus Reviews

Beautifully drawn characters populate this affecting first novel, each of them real enough to be hug-worthy. It is a story of friendships more than of young love (though a blushing crush certainly fits in nicely), and when a gay character comes out to her friends, it is handled without gasps or fanfare. There is much to be savored in this book for those who want a story about real life and real friendship.
—Booklist

Combs's debut introduces a vivid, self-aware protagonist at a significant juncture in her life. ... Infused with romance and intellectual energy, Combs's story eloquently captures the euphoria and transformation that can arise from an intense period of personal introspection. Gloria's Whitmanesque quest for visceral experience is exciting and inspiring, as is her ability to recognize the significance of quiet moments as they unfold.
—Publishers Weekly

Earnest... Ambitious... The author’s palpable affection for her state and the sweet-as-Kentucky-pie passages guarantee that Breakfast Served Anytime will have solid regional appeal.
—School Library Journal

Combs’ language has moments of poignancy, illustrating a sensitive understanding of the inner and outer worlds of gifted adolescents and ultimately providing ... readers with a heartening message about leaving a home one loves and moving into the larger world of adulthood.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Mary Kusluch
This is a beautifully written coming-of-age novel with characters so detailed readers feel that they know them and dialogue so natural, readers feel as though they said it. The characters go to a prestigious summer school but learn much more than books could ever teach. Recommend it to a wide variety of teen readers. Reviewer: Mary Kusluch, Teen Reviewer; Ages 12 to 18.
Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Nancy Wallace
When Gloria leaves her best friend and a tentative lover behind to attend “Geek Camp” at the University of Kentucky, she automatically scores a free-ride college scholarship. Even the request to leave all technology at home—no cells, no iPads, no laptops—does not faze her. Gloria “majors” in the Secrets of the Written Word and acquires the infamous “Dr. X” as her professor, along with the company of three other high school seniors who will change her life forever. Mysterious and illusive, “X” leaves cryptic clues alluding to Plato’s Republic and John Keats’s Ode To A Grecian Urn and eventually strands Gloria, Cloe, Calvin, and the Mad Hatter, Mason Atkinson, in a tomb under haunted McGrath Hall. Each literary encounter is carefully honed to encourage independent thought and yet simultaneously promote collaboration. The friendships that are forged may well last a lifetime. This debut novel is a gem. It captures and holds the sweet essence of those fiercely intense relationships that often blossom during the enforced intimacy of sharing rooms and assignments. It handles literature, friendship, heartbreak, and joy with equal tenderness. The pages are strewn with tantalizing truisms, making it a fascinating springboard for group discussion. The Egg Drop Café, where breakfast is served any time, becomes the meeting spot for this unlikely foursome, who might never have become friends otherwise. Their adventures, as they spend one magical summer on the cusp of adulthood, will become a favorite among many teen readers. This novel has earned a spot in every school and public library. Reviewer: Nancy Wallace; Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature - Natalie Gurr
Geek camp is the place to be for gifted and talented teens around Kentucky. Gloria, bereft from the loss of her grandmother, decides to make the most of her experience. It is the summer before senior year and Gloria is ready for something new. Camp begins with strange clues from the mysterious Professor X that lead Gloria and her three classmates on a romp around campus. Then there is Jessica, Gloria’s outspoken roommate that advocates for mountain-top removal—a hot debate raging through the state—and Mason, the crazy “Mad Hatter” that drives her crazy, and not always in a bad way. With new friends and new perspectives, summer has never been so refreshing. Kentucky is brought to life as Gloria and her friends discuss where they come from and debate mountain-top removal. The setting is spot on, but most of the characters are unrealistic. Gloria and her friends are pretentious and melodramatic which makes it hard for readers to relate. Combs makes some brilliant points but the prose is often stilted and hard to follow. A limited readership will enjoy the descriptions of Kentucky and Gloria’s path of self-discovery. Reviewer: Natalie Gurr; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
05/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—This earnest but patchy debut is as much a love letter to Kentucky as it is a novel about rising high school senior Gloria's transformative summer at "Geek Camp." During her four weeks on the campus of Morlan College, the temperamental and snarky teen grieves for her recently deceased grandmother, makes lifelong friends, has classes at a diner, develops a crush, and ponders her future. After graduation, should she move to New York City with her best friend to pursue acting, or should she accept a full scholarship to the University of Kentucky? The ambitious story is as overloaded as a blue-plate special, tackling racism, death, sexuality, religion, family, mountain top removal, and myriad other weighty topics. Motifs (blue butterflies and To Kill a Mockingbird, to name two) seem more inserted on top of the plot than integrated into it. Readers may find it difficult to get behind Gloria because her character fluctuates so hugely: she's immature enough to hate a stranger because he wears an odd hat but is mature enough to read Henry James and understand T. S. Eliot. However, the author's palpable affection for her state and the sweet-as-Kentucky-pie passages ("the sunlight slanting through the trees was getting soft and syrupy in that way that makes you miss things that aren't even gone yet.") guarantee that Breakfast Served Anytime will have solid regional appeal.—Chelsey Philpot, Boston University, MA
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-05
Gloria is headed for a summer of Geek Camp, an experience that will transform her. Much like a latter-day Anne of Green Gables, Gloria is acutely aware of the exquisite promise of the moment, and she savors the myriad details of each memorable experience. She carries with her the Gloria Bishop Book of Ephemera, a sort of scrapbook for the detritus that makes memories, from fortune-cookie messages to a four-leaf clover plucked by Mason. He's the most interesting of her classmates at a summer camp for gifted rising Kentucky high school seniors. Only she and three others have chosen the focus of Secrets of the Written Word, overseen by a quirky professor they call X. Together, the lovingly portrayed foursome explores the campus, spends lots of time at a small restaurant that serves breakfast all day and falls for each other as the best of friends—and in the case of Gloria and Mason, more than best friends. Gloria's upbeat attitude, effectively depicted through her often funny, too-quickly-judgmental voice and the ineffable enthusiasm of the campers she encounters, offers a satisfying, thoughtful take on growing up. In a promising debut, Combs crafts a strong, memorable female character and a broad collection of fully fleshed-out secondary players who share a magical summer. (Fiction. 12-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763670474
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
04/08/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,260,334
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Combs leads writing workshops at a nonprofit literacy center in Lexington, Kentucky, where she lives with her two young sons, two pacifist bird dogs, and her modern-day Atticus Finch of a husband, whose acquaintance she first made at a geek camp not unlike Gloria’s. Breakfast Served Anytime is her first novel.

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Breakfast Served Anytime 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved witnessing Gloria's personal growth over the camp, and how she came to see her classmates diferently over time . Excellent first novel. While I was dying for more insight to Mason's life, I still enjoyed the writing style and gentle revelations into the characters life and psyche. Lookm forward to her next effort.
lakraft More than 1 year ago
This was a really enjoyable tween book. I found myself getting pulled into and connecting with the characters throughout this book. It touches on many different areas of life and struggles but in the end is an eye opener and may have you looking at life a little differently. This will bring to light a little about not being so quick to judge and trying to be open to finding the best in people. If we all read and grasped this maybe we could all get along a little better and may find a little more happiness in yourself as well as others.