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Bass Ackwards and Belly Up Hardcover – May 10, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Harper, an overconfident high school grad who has only applied to one college, is (surprise, surprise) rejected. To make matters worse, she lies to her three best friends, convincing them that she has chosen to postpone college to live in her parents' basement in Boulder, CO, and follow her dreams by drafting the Great American Novel. Adding to her guilt, she inspires two of the other three to also ditch their college plans to follow their dreams. The story bounces back and forth among the four girls and their adventures as an actual college freshman, an aspiring author, an aspiring Hollywood actress, and a backpacking European tourist. Heavy on adjectives, the book drags a bit at the outset, but the pace quickens as each young woman develops a romantic interest, and the multiple story threads help maintain readers' interest. Although it lacks the novelty of a magical pair of jeans connecting the narratives, this novel might be another good choice for readers who have exhausted Ann Brashares's Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (Delacorte).–Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. After high-school senior Harper is rejected from NYU, the only school to which she applied, she is too ashamed to tell her friends and family. Instead, she announces that she rejected NYU, choosing instead to stay at home in Boulder, Colorado, to pursue her dream of writing. Her decision sparks an unexpected, explosive reaction in her three best friends, who decide to join the "Dream Train," too: Sophie heads to Hollywood to act; Becca flies to Middlebury College, where she will ski for a top coach; and Kate defers her Harvard admission (and the expectations of her high-achieving parents) to travel through Europe and discover herself. Alternating chapters follow the girls throughout their first months of independence, heartbreaks, upsetting setbacks, romance, sex (not explicitly detailed), and thrilling self-discovery. There are some far-fetched scenarios (Sophie dates an A-list Hollywood star) and some stereotypical characters (particularly Kate's parents), but many teens, particularly fans of Jodi Lynn Anderson's Peaches (2005), will delight vicariously in the brave journeys and fierce friendships. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers; First Edition edition (May 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316057932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316057936
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,475,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen C. Rubin on April 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this novel on an airplane, read the whole flight, and kept reading at every available moment until I finished it.

Bass Ackwards switches between the stories of four best friends, three of whom decide to postpone their freshman year at college to pursue their dreams. Usually with books like this, with several main characters, you're engaged by some of their stories and bored by others. Here I was equally interested in reading about all four of the main characters.

It's engaging and fun, but it's also well-written. I'd compare it to Ann Brashares's books about the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, but aimed at a slightly older group. College students or adults would like Bass Ackwards as much as teenagers.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Despite their vastly different personalities and families, Harper, Sophie, Becca, and Kate have been best friends for years. No matter what, they tell each other everything.

Well, almost everything. Harper was rejected from NYU, the only college to which she applied, and has been keeping this a secret from her friends and her parents for months. Right before her friends plan to take off for colleges all over the country, the truth comes out.

Well, kind of. Harper acts as though she has decided not to go to NYU, preferring to stay home and write the next Great American Novel. She thinks this quasi-admission will shock her friends, but their reactions shock her even more: two of them decide to follow her example and take a year off from college to chase their own capital-D Dreams.

From there on, the story follows each girl in turn. Each storyline is given equal time and attention, switching back and forth every few pages. This format will be familiar to fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Sophie wants to be a famous actress. As luck would have it, her mom's old friend lives with her husband in Beverly Hills and allows Sophie to stay at the guesthouse rent-free. Sophie's landlords are quite busy and have good connections, giving her total freedom and helping her snag some auditions. Sophie befriends Sam, an aspiring actor who takes care of the pool and does odd jobs around the place, and Trey, a famous actor who gets her a line in a movie and steals her heart. If you like Sophie's storyline, read The 310 series by Beth Killian.

Kate's post-high-school plans were supposed to be set in stone: Go to Harvard with her long-time boyfriend, study hard and get good grades in an effort to live up to her parents' high expectations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
It is the time for their lives to truly take flight. Best friends Harper, Kate, Becca and Sophie have graduated high school and are going to separate colleges to pursue their separate careers. But to Harper's disappointment, her future is crushed when she received the rejection letter from NYU and rather than tell her friends the truth, she decides to spend the year writing America's next Little Women. Although her gambling journey was not to be taken alone, for Harper inspired both Kate and Sophie to chase their dreams as well. Sophie blindly stumbles into Hollywood in search of the perfect audition that will propel her into the movie business, but instead finds love with the wrong actor. Leaving home with only a passport and an open road, Kate bails out of Harvard to explore the world and its broad opportunity where she hopes her dream is hidden. The only one to stick to her plan, Becca hits the ski slopes on the Middlebury team content with the only thing she feels good at, which keeps her company when her friends are far. Love comes to each girl that year and with it decisions that could change their lives, and though apart, the four friends manage to find ways to hold each other close. Bass Ackwards and Belly Up, by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fein, is a heartfelt novel that defines the love that is intertwined in the friendship of four girls who experience their first steps into the real world.

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up is made up of the four stories of the four friends Becca, Harper, Sophie and Kate. The tales of each of their separate lives makes the book a more intriguing read, one that's difficult to put down. From each girl, the reader can sometimes relate and because there are separate stories, it is easier to compare with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra on February 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Best friends Harper, Sophie, Becca, and Kate have done everything together since elementary school. Now they've graduated, and are about to go off to college. True, they're all going to different schools, in different cities, but they're still all having the same experiences, just in different locations. Then, the night before Becca is supposed to leave for Middlebury, Harper drops a bomb. Instead of heading off to Manhattan, she's going to be staying at home in her parents basement and writing the next Great American Novel. In other words, following her Dream. Sophie and Kate quickly hop on board the "Dream Train," as they call it, going to L.A. and Europe, respectively. For Becca, joining the Middlebury ski team is her dream, but her friends tell her she should work on expanding her horizons by falling in love. As the girls' powerful stories alternate throughout the novel, you will be rooting for all of them to accomplish their dreams. True, there are obstacles: a bitter ski coach, skeezy guys, and writer's block, to name a few. But this Dream Train is full speed ahead, and it doesn't stop for anything or anyone.
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