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How NOT to Spend Your Senior Year    by Cameron Dokey order for
How NOT to Spend Your Senior Year
by Cameron Dokey
Order:  USA  Can
Pulse, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Jo O'Connor has never lived in any city for long. She has averaged two to three moves each year since her mother was killed when she was eight. Jo figures that her father just can't handle the grief, so he moves them from place to place when the memories get too strong. But now it's Jo's senior year, and she desperately wants to remain in the same school until she graduates so she can settle down and make friends. Jo and her father move to Seattle. For once they are living in a house rather than an apartment, so she feels hopeful.

On her first day of school, it's love at first sight when Jo meets Alex. He walks her to her classes and introduces her to Elaine, one of his best friends. The girls hit it off and are soon inseparable. Alex kisses Jo, then asks her to the prom. She's walking on air, but when she arrives home, she learns something is terribly wrong. Her father finally comes clean and tells her deep secrets about their many moves. He informs her that they have to disappear forever - as in, pretend they have been killed. This sets off a hilarious chain of events that could only happen to a love-struck teenager. Will Jo ever talk to Elaine and Alex again?

This is a fresh, funny romantic comedy for teens. Since Jo has moved so many times, she has developed a demeanor that lets her blend in with the scenery. After her death, she is forced into the light, so to speak, which allows her to see herself in a different way. The secondary characters round out the story and give it depth. It's easy to relate to Jo, because everyone knows how important it is to have friends and feel a part of things. Readers will sympathize with her story and chuckle along with her mishaps.

This tale is unique. It moves quickly and readers will be entranced by the ending. It's full of adventure, mistaken identities, a ghost story, friendships, and of course, romance. Teens, especially girls, will enjoy spending time reading How NOT to Spend Your Senior Year.

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