I was so excited to read Breakfast Served Anytime. Sarah Combs is a fellow Candlewick author and one of the sweetest, most genuine people in the world. Plus she wrote a book about a summer camp for gifted teens? I was already obsessed. Breakfast Served Anytime not only met my expectations but exceeded them like crazy. In case you need specifics, here are my ten reasons why you should read Breakfast Served Anytime:
Can I hug a fictional character? Because I really want Gloria to be real and she and Teen Annie can hang out. Such a beautifully written narrator full of intelligence and sensitivity and sadness and humor and love.
2. Secrets of the Written Word
At camp, Gloria takes a “Secrets of the Written Word” class, which includes field trips to kissing trees and defenses of the greatest novels ever written. Gloria and her classmates all bond in a way that’s realistic and makes you want to be part of the group. Also, there’s a puppy.
Gloria is a true actor who can transform on stage, and I love getting to learn about acting through her eyes–even the anxiety of what it means to be a true artist and giving of yourself as a performer.
When I saw the Breakfast Served Anytime cover, I noticed the diner setting first, then the butterflies. “I wonder how those come into play,” I thought. Turns out, they come into play in one of the most beautiful scenes ever. THE FEELINGS, guys.
Gloria’s roommate Jessica and her friend Sonya could easily have been set up as pretty, popular girls who don’t care about deep or geeky things. I loved that they were both complex and wonderful characters. Jessica even brings up issues Gloria hadn’t thought of before for a compelling exploration of what it means to be from different backgrounds and have to make different choices.
Gloria’s grandmother, GoGo, is a beautiful presence throughout the story, even though we never meet her in real time. She’s the kind of character you wish you could make real so you could send time with her. I love the idea of her sitting in the audience at Gloria’s performances.
I don’t think I’d necessarily classify Breakfast Served Anytime as a “romance,” since I think there are so many important relationships and lessons in here, not just romantic ones, but let me tell you–Combs knows how to make a swoony kissing scene or two. So heartfelt and so genuine.
Okay, so maybe I have an interest in stories about daughter dealing with their unstable mothers. 😉 But Combs weaves in the backstory of Gloria and her mother so sensitively and beautifully, it would be hard for any reader not to feel for them. I loved getting glimpses of how Gloria’s mother’s instability not only affected her but the rest of the family as well. It’s definitely not an “issue book” kind of plotline, but I loved seeing that part of Gloria’s life included in a very touching and real way.
9. The Writing
Oh my gosh, guys, the writing here is just so stellar. Every page there was a line or image or idea that made me stop and think, “Yes, that’s it, that’s how it feels, that’s it exactly.” Combs’s writing is deft and beautiful and true. It’s the kind of book I wish I’d had as a teen, because I know I would have read it a thousand times and taped quotes up from it all over my walls. A few places, I actually got teary-eyed, not because anything particularly sad was happening but because the writing was just so damn good. I’d be wild with jealousy except…
10. Sarah Combs Is the Sweetest Ever
Sarah and I have been emailing since we met via OneFour KidLit and found out we were both Candlewick authors. Every time I read an email from Sarah, I feel like I’m filled with rainbows and sparkles and corgis. She’s so kind and thoughtful and positive, and we share an affection for things like Twelfth Night and Our Town. After reading The Chance You Won’t Return, she sent me the loveliest note with her thoughts on the book and I practically cried I was so touched. Of course such a generous, sweet author wrote such a beautiful novel.
Breakfast Served Anytime is coming out April 8th from Candlewick Press. Put it on your to-read list now!