Extra Credit Epidemic by Nina Post
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Coming of Age, YA
Reading Level: Young Adult (F/F romantic interests)
Recommended for: Fans of surreal comedy, F/F coming-of-age relationships
Book Available: July 1, 2013 from Curiosity Quills
Trigger Warnings: bullying
My Thoughts: Taffy was my favorite character in the previous book from Nina Post, One Ghost per Serving (my review linked here where formatting allowed), so I was super excited to hear she was featuring in this book.
I think a lot of people won't quite understand or appreciate the humor in this one. It's not the sort of almost slapstick that Nina Post uses in her Last... of the Apocalypse series; it's more a sort of surreality shown through the interactions of the characters. People who enjoy things like Monty Python's Holy Grail (or the TV series) will probably like Extra Credit Epidemic. A small sample of dialogue with Taffy's mother:
“How are you? Are you eating? Are you sleeping?”
“Don't you think your extraordinarily high expectations could be putting too much pressure on me?” Taffy asked.
Taffy is such a player, and that really amuses me, since so often the stereotypical lesbian behavior is “bringing a U-Haul for the second date.” It also seems so counter to her usual behavior, which is to hold everyone at arm's length and/or completely ignore them that I have to wonder how she so thoroughly switches on the charm for her pick-ups. We are never given the details, just the information that she did it again. Taylor's silly little ditties on her banjo and Gabe's wrestling mask gave them each a fun quirk, but their characters were also well-developed otherwise, which I appreciated. I really loved the growth shown by Taffy through the course of the book, and the strong team she built with Taylor, Gabe, and Van.
The major problem I had with this was a formatting issue: chapters 15 and 16 were mixed up, so it went Chapter 14, chapter 16, then chapter 15, which left me very confused until I figured that out, because it went from heading into the farm in Ohio to pulling into Taffy's house with everyone mad at Taffy and I having no idea why until I noticed the chapter mix-up. This was an ARC, so hopefully that will be fixed by the time this book is released on July 1, 2013.
Nina Post is a recent addition to my favorite author roster. I've read all of her books so far, and enjoyed them quite a lot. My favorite is “Danger in Cat World” (review linked here where formatting allowed).
Disclosure: I received an ARC e-book copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Taffy Snackerge is a high school senior who likes doing things her way. Gifted in science, she'd rather analyze infectious diseases and pick up a girl for the occasional fling than deal with her boring schoolwork or the high school social scene. When she notices a surprising number of cases of food poisoning in the area, she's eager to dig in and find the cause.
To help with the investigation, Taffy approaches the only teacher she's ever liked and respected, Van Brenner. As a former state epidemiologist, Van is uniquely qualified to help Taffy get the data and insights that she needs. However, Van has one condition: Taffy needs to work with two other students on the case, and she doesn't get to pick them.
As the cases start to multiply and the underfunded state health department continues to drag their feet, Taffy knows that it's up to her to find out what's making so many people sick. But can she learn to work with her two teammates—including a beautiful, hyper-organized girl who's president of the Young Attachés Club and an emotional overeater who can't go out in public without his lucha libre mask—while still retaining her autonomy? Can the team fend off a snooping assistant principal and step up when the adults let them down? And can they locate the source of the outbreak before it reaches epidemic proportions?
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