Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 322 pages
Publisher: CrateSpace (April 13, 2011)
Series: Birthday Trilogy #1
Source: Finished copy provided by the author
Cover: I like this cover but I do find it a bit funny that this is a novel written in a guy's perspective with a pink cover. Not to say guys can't love pink but I don't think many of them would carry around a pink covered book. Regardless, I like the multiple candles and the title written in smoke.
First Sentence: "The nightmare was real."
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 all on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a popular pretty boy who's never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.
All Cameron 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 mysterious young woman, however, he realizes his only hope for survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place...
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked up Happy Birthday To Me but what I got was something that sincerely surprised me. An authentic and likable male point of view, touching plot and vivid, clean writing were what awaited between the pages. Happy Birthday To Me is an easy read with just a pinch of magic.
As someone always on the look out for likable and realistic male characters, I was very excited to meet Cameron. The combination of the humorous and sort of gross worked to make a well rounded male character that felt authentic. I always think that it's because it's a guy writing it but that's not necessarily the case. It's easy to mess up your own sex or the opposite so this is solely the writer. Cameron is a bit naive, or maybe he's singularly focused, at first which was frustrating because as a reader, I saw which way he needed to go while he was blind. That being said, I didn't actually mind this because it meant I cared for him right away and wanted better. In this case, Cameron really did get better with age. What I liked about his constant aging was that he still made mistakes like a seventeen-year-old kid.
The authenticity of Cameron's voice throughout the novel was definitely it's strongest point. I did notice that as Cameron grew older, his voice sounded less and less young which I wish would have been a little more consistent, especially since he makes a point of telling us over and over that he's a kid trapped in a grown up body. I'm not sure if the change in voice during the much older years was supposed to signify how Cameron matured but his voice smoothed out again by the end.
My favorite character for the beginning was Cameron's friend Wes. I guess I liked Wes because Cameron sort of came alive around the, You could tell their friendship was real and I enjoyed their witty banter back and forth. I guess I also felt that Wes showed Cameron's decent side in the beginning. Cameron's family on the other hand were horrible, particularly his dad. I thought it was a good thing to work through in the novel but the shallowness of his father and the fact that his mother just went along with it shocked me.
I don't know why I wasn't wild for the idea of a guy aging one year every day. I guess, I wasn't sure what to make of it. That's why I was so surprised when Cameron's aging touched me. The older he got, the quicker I turned the pages because I was worried for him. There were so pretty touching scene towards the end of Cameron's years that really choked me up. I'm not wild about sports but I liked the basketball angle in this novel because of what it stood for.
I also want to stress how smooth the writing was. I know people tend to be leery of self-published books because sometimes they are riddled with mistakes or don't read smooth. This is not one of these novel. Mr. Rowe's writing was at times funny, at times touching and always easy to read.
Happy Birthday To Me is sort of like a cake. You can see what kind of frosting is on the outside but the inside is one giant surprise. I really loved Cameron's voice and the incredible growth his character goes through. If you're looking for a well written and realistic male point-of-view, look no further than Happy Birthday To Me.