Bass Ackwards and Belly Up is a book readers won’t want to miss! It’s the story of four best friends–Harper Waddle, Sophie Bushell, Kate Foster, and Becca Winsberg, who have just graduated high school. Since they’re members of nice, normal (ish) suburban families, they have, of course, plans to go to college. But then Harper makes a shocking announcement, and everything changes for the four of them. Harper isn’t going to her dream college, NYU. In fact, she’s not planning on going to college at all! It is, she tells her friends, because she wants to stay home and write the Great American Novel. Yeah, right. In reality, Harper wasn’t accepted to NYU, and she didn’t apply anywhere else, but she’s too chicken to admit any of that.

When Harper commits the “ultimate suburban sin,” it’s shocking enough. When Sophie and Kate send the worlds of their families way out of orbit by making the decision to put off college as well, no one can believe it. Kate was going to Harvard! Now, though, things are different. Kate is going to travel across the world, starting with Paris. Sophie is going to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. Becca’s the only one sticking to her original plan and going to Middlebury, but there are some challenges for her as well.

This is a brilliant book from two equally brilliant authors, Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain. They’ve got to be brilliant; they’ve written for a number of television shows, including the last two (and best two) seasons of the wonderful Angel! If you are a huge (slightly obsessive) fan of Buffy and Angel, you can imagine how exciting it was to read this on the back of the book. Bass Ackwards and Belly Up definitely lived up to my expectations. It’s a funny, entertaining, sad, touching, and very real story about four friends who, with lots of support from each other, learn a lot about love, friendship, their dreams, and most of all, themselves, having some fun and suffering some humiliation along the way (isn’t that just how life is?). Harper, Sophie, Kate, and Becca are very realistic, original, and well written (of course, everything in this book is well written) characters. The less major characters are great, too, and there is more to everyone than meets the eye, which is definitely a plus for a novel. The idea of the book is interesting as well, and certainly shows a different side of the whole “taking a year off” idea than teenagers get from their parents and school counselors, which is nice. Bass Ackwards and Belly Up is a page-turner and a must-read; I’m really looking forward to the sequel, due out next May!