Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barker and Heather Hepler
Rating: 4 stars
(Note: I'm particularly partial to this one because Husband and I often visit the Minnesota Renaissance Festival when we go to visit his family.)
Last year I enjoyed the recent trend towards alternating boy-girl point of view books written by a male and a female author. Calliope has been following her drifter mother around Renaissance Faires and other short-term jobs for years. Every few months she has to pack fewer of her belongings into their hatchback and leave another town. She hasn't seen her father in years. Eliot's dad found religion a few years ago and it turned out that cashing in on Jesus allowed him to make even more money. He moved Eliot and his mom to a Christian fat camp for teens in the woods outside the small town that hosts the Faire. At the camp, Eliot's dad insists that his family devote their lives to God, fitness, and the pursuit of money. Cal and Eliot spot each other as she and her mom drive into town and run into each other later at the used bookstore. It's love at first sight, but Cal's mom doesn't want her to make any ties and Eliot's dad doesn't approve of "those people." Despite these objections, Cal and Eliot fall more and more in love over the summer, until one day Cal's mom makes her usual announcement - they're leaving, just when Cal's finally found somewhere and someone that feels like home.
This was a lovely love story and I enjoyed getting the male and female perspectives. The settings of the Renaissance Faire and the fat camp provide also lots of amusing details - encounters with wenches and jousters and "inspirational" messages like the 10 commandments of healthy eating. But it's also really touching. Cal's sadness over having to leave Eliot is heightened because she feels such a sense of futility - she can't make her mother understand how unhappy she is and she thinks there's no point in even trying. Eliot and his mom are really unhappy at the camp, but his dad doesn't seem to notice. But with the help of a Ren Fest rib chef, a special apartment, and the power of love, things might just work out.
Jousters, fireworks, recipes, love, sadness, paddleboats....this book has it all!