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Wurst Case Scenario

Wurst Case Scenario

5.0 4
by Catherine Clark

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Funny, quirky Catherine Clark brings us another diary of the irrepressible Courtney Von Dragen Smith. This time, Courtney has done the unthinkable: in a burst of self-improving zeal (and some unexpected trouble with local options), she has left home for college in America's Dairyland, where eating vegan is regarded as highly suspicious at best, and Grant (best bf


Funny, quirky Catherine Clark brings us another diary of the irrepressible Courtney Von Dragen Smith. This time, Courtney has done the unthinkable: in a burst of self-improving zeal (and some unexpected trouble with local options), she has left home for college in America's Dairyland, where eating vegan is regarded as highly suspicious at best, and Grant (best bf ever) is 1,000 miles away. And so Courtney, "so on the fringe," begins her chronicle of what truly is the wurst case scenario.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Courtney's off to college in Wurst Case Scenario, Catherine Clark's follow-up to last year's Truth or Dairy. In this diary of college-age angst, the 18-year-old laments leaving small-town Colorado for even smaller town Wisconsin, where the usual freshman fears are aggravated by, among other things, being a vegan in cow country. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
This is a follow-up to Clark's Truth or Dairy, a funny novel in journal form about a teenage girl named Courtney who works at a café of that name. In this sequel Courtney has just started as a freshman at Cornwall Falls College in Wisconsin. For an aspiring vegan from Colorado, this meat-and dairy-rich state is a truly foreign land: "It's like some science fiction universe...The question is not "Got milk?" but rather, "Got anything but milk?" Other challenges include her roommate, Mary Jo, a farm girl who is very different from Courtney, and being apart from her boyfriend Grant, whom Courtney misses terribly. But Courtney bravely muddles through, finding a job at Bagle Finagle, making friends with a girl named Thyme, learning to appreciate Mary Jo, and experiencing the ups and downs of a long-distance relationship with Grant. The difficulties of having a boyfriend in another state are made clear. She also becomes involved with campus protests, and somehow manages to find time for schoolwork, too. High school students who wonder what college life is really like will appreciate Courtney's detailed, humorous perspective on dorm life and making new friends. There is some mention of beer drinking and nights spent with boyfriends, but nothing at all explicit. Courtney's tone is chatty, confiding, and sprinkled with up-to-date references and funny comments. Lots of fun. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, HarperCollins, 320p., $15.89. (paperback, $6.95.). Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
Children's Literature
Vegan wannabe Courtney Von Dragen Smith is out of her element. She has traveled 1,000 miles from Denver, Colorado, to Wauzataukie, Wisconsin, to attend her grandparents' alma mater, Cornwell Falls College. Granted, the college did give her a big scholarship, but how could that have been enough to overshadow the fact that the most popular restaurant in town is Brat Wurstenburger? To complicate things further, she of all people has landed a cheese-loving farmer's daughter for a roommate. How on earth is she going to survive for nine months living with someone whose side of the room is decorated with cows and Precious Moments dolls? Nonetheless, Courtney is determined to get the most out of college life and ends up joining the campus Badicals on a campaign to stop the initials CFC from appearing on college paraphernalia. Combine that with a school mascot that stalks her, sociology exams and news of her best friend making out with her boyfriend, and Courtney wonders how she ever landed herself in such a mess. Courtney is whiny, confused and imperfect, which is exactly what makes her so appealing to the teen reader. This fun follow-up to Truth or Dairy is an accurate portrayal of college life in small-town Wisconsin, from empty bank accounts to the perils of long-distance romance to trying to find some place to belong. 2001, HarperTempest/HarperCollins, $6.95. Ages 14 up. Reviewer: Carlie Kraft AGES: 14 15 16 17 18
Courtney Von Dragen Smith, introduced to readers in Truth or Dairy, (HarperCollins, 2000/VOYA December 2000), has left Colorado, the smoothie shop, and boyfriend Grant to attend college in Wisconsin. The adjustment to college life proves difficult because Courtney is a wanna-be vegan thrown into a world of dairy and bratwurst. Her first long-distance romance failed, and she is worried about what Grant is doing back in Colorado. Her new job is at Bagel Finagle, where her boss is less than appreciative of Courtney's work habits. To top it all off, Courtney's roommate is one of those suspiciously nice girls who goes to bed at ten p.m. and gets up at five a.m. Through her diary entries, it is obvious to the reader that Courtney will be challenged by her new life as she joins an environmental (well, sort of) cause, meets new men, and learns how to live in a dorm. Then there is always Grant—Is he dating? Does he still care? Why doesn't he answer his phone? Clark is successful at creating fresh, irreverent characters. Courtney's situations are not always believable, but who cares? Humorous and light, this book is the perfect summer read. Courtney's culture shock—wheatgrass smoothies versus frozen custard—is part of the fun. Although this novel is a sequel, the reader new to the series is not left out. Alcohol and smoking are mentioned because they are elements of college life, but Courtney seems almost wholesome. As with the first novel, the diary entries are short, descriptive, and entertaining. This series, although written for an older reader, is reminiscent of early Conford and Danziger. Readers looking for something quick, current, and engaging will not be disappointed. VOYACODES:4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses;Broad general YA appeal;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, HarperCollins, 320p. PLB $15.89, $6.95 Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer:Judy Sasges—VOYA, December 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Courtney begins her freshman year at Cornwall Falls College in Wisconsin, while her boyfriend goes to Colorado State, near their Denver hometown. The long-distance phone bills rack up, as Courtney calls Grant to gripe about her new life, and they gradually drift apart. Her vegan lifestyle is totally disrupted by the cheese-and-bratwurst mentality of the locals. Her new best friend, Thyme, is a campus rebel, or, maybe, a Daddy's girl. And, even if she turns out to be not such a good friend, she would make a great chameleon. Upon starting a job at the local bagelry, Courtney finds new grist for the complainer's mill. When she finally makes friends with her coworkers-a gay guy who changes his name almost as fast as he does his nail color and the token African-American male-these relationships begin to build a foundation that gives her the courage to adjust to life away from home. Through Courtney's journal entries, Clark has tried to paint a picture of the self-discovery and loneliness of those first days of teen-adult freedom, and the unsure-sureness of Courtney's mood is consistently sustained. Unfortunately, the main character's whiny nature and the sketchiness of the rest of the cast make involvement in the story difficult.-Kim Harris, Newman Riga Library, Churchville, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
paper: 0-06-447287-6 Clark continues Courtney's saga (Truth or Dairy, 2000) as she endures her "freshperson" fall semester at Cornwall Falls College, Wisconsin. Diary format lets readers revel in the teen-speak of her "tragic" circumstances: charmed away from her native Colorado by a generous financial-aid package, Courtney is a vegan trapped 1,000 miles from the nearest fruit smoothie. Nobody understands the torment of being in a long-distance relationship with perfect boyfriend Grant. As if anybody could understand the spirit-crushing experience of working for minimum wage at the fast-food chain, The Bagle Finagle. That Courtney is self-involved would be an understatement, but the light-hearted tone and the recognizable archetypes are just humorous enough to keep the pages turning. Clark has a gifted ear for language and an eye for the details of current teenage trends. Late-adolescent behavior is wickedly revealed as Courtney begins to get involved with school activities such as the Campus Badicals who are protesting the initials of the school. As the semester progresses, she begins to discover that first impressions are not always the most reliable way to choose friends-especially when her kindred spirit soulmate turns out to be someone completely different and her bovine-loving roommate ditches her boyfriend to save Courtney from spending Thanksgiving alone in the dorm. A hoot. (Fiction. 12-14)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 7.26(h) x 1.17(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Read an Excerpt

8/18 Friday Night

Can I even explain the weirdness that is my life right now?

My new college roommate, the person I have to spend the next 9 months living with, Mary Jo Johannsen, is sleeping now. Went to bed at 10. Set alarm for 5 but said she'd probably wake up before it went off. What? Who wakes up before 5?

Her straw-blond hair is spread out on the pillow. She has baby-blue flannel pajamas with little black-and-white Holstein cows on them. Which she is wearing even though it is about 90 degrees in our room. 3rd floor. Hot, humid. No A/C.

Mary Jo is the type of person you might hate if she weren't so nice. Too nice, actually. Highly suspect. Has perfect body, perfect hair, and no clue of this. Wears unflattering clothes that end up looking good anyway -- orange corduroy pants, the kind you see for $1.99 at Old Navy, only hers are legitimately vintage, plus white T- shirt with green John Deere tractor logo. She's tan, she has muscles. She looks healthy, strong, normal. Sort of like Drew Barrymore.

Me, I feel like the heifer in the photo at the end of her bed. Could be the fact I ate cheese in addition to sour cream today, however. In spite of being a vegan. Okay, a semi-vegan. Mary Jo's mom brought snacks and sandwiches and cubed cheese and kept insisting I have some, wouldn't take no for an answer. Realized I had to take something or she would never stop asking. Opted for the lesser of 27 evils and had cheddar cubes. Mom was in heaven, bonding with other mom over advantages of having large cooler stocked with bite-size items in Ziploc.

Anyway, now my stomach is as bloated as my college application was, which is the reason I ended up with mega-size scholarship and grants to this supposedly "top-notch" Cornwall Falls College in the first place. It is way out in the country. Thought I would like that for some reason. Now it seems crazy as I am too far from major airports. Where is my escape route?

Never should have listened to Mom. Or guidance counselor. Or Gerry, the ex-guidance counselor. They all told me to volunteer, like being the student council VP and then P wasn't enough. End result: I cleaned out streams. I collected donated books. I tutored at elementary school. I nearly joined the Girl Scouts to get into a good college. Insane concept, as I am too old to wear uniforms and badges, not that I had any badges yet, which would have been really embarrassing. Would have been oldest living Brownie, and though I have a few camping skills, like rolling up my sleeping bag, and gathering firewood, I am lousy at camp songs and cannot cook a marshmallow without singeing my hair.

What was I thinking when I decided to go away to college? What was I thinking when I said, "Hey, okay, Wisconsin!" I even went for a tour, which should have given me time to think. But no. Must have been in a dairy-induced daze. just because they served free Starbucks Frappuccinos on the plane and got my vegan/vegetarian/non-chicken meal right, I took that as a sign. A flight attendant with frosted blond hair and an attitude about me having a special request meal gives me a stupid egg-free, gluten-free cookie...and I make a major life decision based on that? Am I that insane?

Anyway, that's beside the point. It's all beside the point. The point is that I am here at Cornwall Falls College.

Getting here was so weird. Little sign outside; Rankin Hall. Crowded parking lot. We walked up the stairs and I was wondering if Mary Jo would be here yet. Nervous about meeting her. Have never had a roommate except for Alison, and sisters don't count. Wondered if I'd filled out my housing questionnaire right, if there was such a thing as a right answer to "Hobbies You Enjoy."

What about "Hobbies You Don't Enjoy"? Why don't they ever ask the important questions?

Anyway, we wandered down the hall looking for 326. Very crowded. Lots of parents, lots of microwaves and computer boxes and trunks, lots of girls looking either ecstatic or terrified. I kept saying "Hi," like an automaton. Hi, hi, hi. Then suddenly we were at room 326.

I peeked around the comer. Mary Jo was standing on her bed, putting up a Faith Hill poster. Which would add to the 10 million other things she already had on the wall: barn print, family portrait, Leann Rimes calendar, and 3 different "Precious Moments" posters with uplifting sayings and supposedly cute photos of kittens and puppies.


Mrs. Johannsen was scrubbing built-in dresser and closet with toxic cleaning product. No oxygen in room.

Mr. Johannsen was creating new furniture, putting up shelves, hammering nails into concrete, with plaster pieces crumbling to the floor which was covered with giant red University of Wisconsin rug.

"Um. Hi?" I said.

Everyone totally dropped what they were doing and turned around. Mary Jo smiled as Mom and her parents shook hands and exchanged fascinating news of trip, highway route, weather. Mary Jo said she hoped I didn't mind if she kind of got the place settled -- she left all this wall space for me, and if I wanted to change beds or anything, that was completely fine, etc. Very sweet and polite. I was looking around this tiny room trying to imagine how I could make it look remotely like a place I lived when suddenly this crowd of tall blond boys came rushing at me. Thought it was some fraternity reference when Mary Jo mentioned "brothers." Then I remembered there are no frats here, and realized these were her actual...

Wurst Case Scenario. Copyright � by Catherine Clark. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Catherine Clark is the author of Maine Squeeze, Love and Other Things I'm Bad At, Picture Perfect, Wish You Were Here, The Alison Rules, Unforgettable Summer, and many others. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Wurst Case Scenario 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is now one of my favorite books.Catherine Clark kept my on the edge of my seat, but she kept me laughing. Courtney 'VD' Smith is such a funny character, I couldn't put it down! READ!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was truly amazing! I read it in less than 24 hours! Catherine Clark is an awesome writer and should be very proud of this book! It's so funny, and romantic, and sometimes, even sad. I'd give this book more than 5 stars if I could.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book (and the first book, Truth or Dairy) is a really great book! I loved it, this book and the 1st book were so filled with emotion, I cried during the first, and laughed all the way through the funny parts! I really, really hope that the author comes out with a third book, I will be so disapointed if she doesn't! Love always, and peace out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is an amazing book. It kept me turning the pages wanting more. In this book Courtney V.D. (not to be confused with the STD) Smith is now at Cornwall Fall College wishing she was not. And where is Grant? 1,000 miles away in Colarado. It starts out with her sadness, but progresses. You get to see the crazy people of this town. And her vegatarinism is not helping much. Not mention that her roomate and her take forever to get along. Oh, and she has to deal with a school whos intials just happen to be C-F-C. As is in CFC that affect the ozone. Then ending however is very rewarding yet a little sad, you want more. And I hope Catherine Clark gives us more.