Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe

Happy Birthday To Me
By Brian Rowe
314 pages

Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day. High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a mischievous pretty boy who has never had to face a day looking anything but perfect. It starts with a slowing metabolism, followed by gray hair, wrinkles, and heart palpitations. Within days his girlfriend dumps him, his plastic surgeon father forces him to get a face lift, and his terrifying high school librarian seduces him to have sex with her. All he wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition. When he finds love with a young woman who may or may not be an all-powerful witch, he realizes that the only hope for his survival might be with the one person who instigated his condition in the first place.

First, I'd like to say this book was given to me by the author a long time ago for review, but due to my, um, lack of organization, yes, that's what I'll call it, the book was misplaced halfway through reading it.  Found it!
So this review is long overdue.  I'm so sorry Mr. Rowe.  Formal apology letter to follow.

On to the review.  Free book does not influence the review.  That said, I enjoyed Happy Birthday to Me.  Again, liking to hear from the male point of view.  Cameron is very candid.  I like that.  He's a jock who thinks he's owed something because he's cute and endowed with physical prowess.  Well, he's already got it, looks and physical prowess and brains.  He just doesn't realize it until he starts to lose it.  He's got a shallow girlfriend, Charisma, someone you'd expect to be his girlfriend.  She wants to be in films.   With that name, I'm sure she will be, just probably not the type we go to the movies to see.  He's got a good friend Wes, that doesn't really fit in with the Jocks, but they've been buds forever, so it's a friendship that withstands the Jock boundaries.  And he has a family that loves him, especially a little sister that adores him.

Cameron is your typical 17 year old boy to me.  At least what I remember of them.  I remember they had one thing in mind and always had it in mind and the other times they were thinking about sports.  Maybe that is an over generalization but in Cameron's case it's true except he is also trying to get into Yale.  He's got his eye on the end of the year, the State Basketball Championship, and he's trying to grow facial hair so he can have sex with his girlfriend.  That's her requirement, not his.  Other than that, there's just having fun.  And one way he has fun is pretending it's his birthday at restaurants and have the waitress sing "Happy Birthday" to him and get free dessert.  Only he carries it a little too far one night and ticks off the wrong waitress.  The next morning he begins aging one year for each day he lives.

The story follows along about his day by day aging and his interactions with his family and friends.  His father is a plastic surgeon and takes the aging of his son very hard.  He spends his days making people look beautiful and his son is growing old before his eyes.  He has a worse time accepting Cameron's fate than Cameron does.  Cameron's mother remains loving and supportive.  His girlfriend of course dumps him immediately.  The search for the cure is to no avail.

I loved once again hearing a story from the male point of view.  I really enjoy getting to know how boys think because I still don't understand them after all this time!  The more I know, the better.  Cameron is very accepting of his condition.  He goes wild a little and then sets goals, the prom, the basketball game, graduation.  He's just looking to make it through the end of school.  But somewhere along the way, he starts learning life lessons, lessons that at seventeen I think he really shouldn't have to learn.  But he's dying so I guess lessons should be learned before you die.  Towards the end, it got very emotional and I actually started crying.  I wasn't expecting that from a book entitled "Happy Birthday to Me"!

In all, it was a good book.  Not predictable at all.  It did drag in the middle for a little bit, it didn't move forward or back, it just kept going over the years he was aging.  I thought that time could have been shortened.  But then, with the introduction of the girl that caused his condition things picked up again and it moved along again at a nice pace.  Great ending to the story though maybe Cameron had a bit of an under reaction to what was done to him.  So, it's a great start for a debut author.  This is one of a trilogy so it should be interesting to see where the series heads.  I think the author has an easy writing style to read with humorous scenes sprinkled throughout. The one with his librarian was almost scary!

Mild sexual references and adult situations.  Mature fifteen and up.


  1. This sounds so interesting! I really like how it's a fresh read, and the way in which Cameron starts to age is definitely different. I agree, boys are a mystery :p It seems like this one has something for everyone. Great review!

    Oh, and I have some books for review as well that I still haven't gotten to! I feel horrible, but I'll make sure to review them right away!

  2. Great review. And I love your blog!

  3. This sounds like a really fun story. I hadn't heard of it before so I'm glad I saw your review.

  4. His girlfriend only has sex with men who have facial hair? That's an interesting requirement though one that doesn't seem like it should really be the deciding factor:) I have this one on my TBR shelf and I'm looking forward to it, glad to know that despite the drag in the middle it picks up again toward the end. Awesome review Heather!

  5. Great review on this one. One of our reviewers read it as well, now I have to go back and see what she thought too! ;)

  6. T.B.- Yes those review books look at you and make you feel so guilty for not reading them don't they! But, you also paid good money for some books that you'd planned on reading and you have to mix it up a little on your blog so you sprinkle them in here and there. I kind of overloaded the next two months so bear with me on the reviews!

    Beth- Thanks!

    Myckyee- Glad you saw it too! I hope you read it and enjoy it!

    Jenny- Yes, facial hair. I don't think I wanted my boyfriend to have facial hair in high school, of course I wasn't having sex either. But if I was, that would have been the least of my worries! And yes, it picks up fast after the drag and gets really good. The end is great, literally the last page!

    Book Sake- I trolled Good Reads to see what everyone else thought and everyone else though along the same lines as I did. I think the next one will be even better! It's supposed to be out this Fall.

    Thanks for all your comments!


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