November 14, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe

Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Self-Pubbed
Pages: 322
Series: Birthday Trilogy
Review Source: Won from Ambur

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day!

High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game all on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a popular pretty boy who's never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.

All Cameron wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition. When he finds love with a mysterious young woman, however, he realizes his only hope for survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place...

My Thoughts:
The concept of this book is fabulous. Guy starts aging one year every single day. It’s insane, right? And it’s a lot of fun to think about the possibilities for the plot. It’s part sci-fi and a little bit Beauty and the Beast. I was intrigued by the whole idea for the book, but unfortunately it failed to keep my interest.

I had a few main problems that caused me to dislike the book, including:
  • Cam, our main character: He’s really unlikable. I understand that when you’re writing a book with character transformation, especially this story, that you need the guy to be a bit of a jerk at first. But Cam? He doesn’t really ever stop being a jerk, and I never saw a transformation in his thoughts. At one point he tells us he sees how he acted before and says he’s reformed, but I didn’t really see any indication in the text.
  • Unrealistic side characters: The beautiful girlfriend wants to be an actress, and she’s vapid and shallow. The father is obsessed with appearances and will do incredibly drastic things to keep Cam looking good. Harsh basketball coach who likes the strip club. Bitchy school librarian who rags on Cam constantly. They were like caricatures instead of like real people. All of it felt like a very exaggerated satire.
  • Cameron’s attitude to his “aging disease”: he wants to live life like normal, including playing basketball and going to prom. Well, sure, of course anyone would want those things. But he has no interest in finding a medical cure? He can’t even spend a week (heck, a DAY) of his time at the hospital trying to figure it out? Later on he does read some books about aging conditions, but his whole attitude toward it seemed so bizarre. You would expect more thoughts about life and what it means, even if they were on a shallow level, but instead he’s more concerned about his appearance.

I could say more, but I don’t really think I have to in order for my opinion on the book to be clear. I just didn’t much enjoy it. I couldn’t understand any of the characters’ motivations, and the prose failed to keep my attention. ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ has a really interesting plotline, but, for me, Brian Rowe’s execution of it leaves a lot to be desired.

The Cover:
I think it's really cute, but now that I've read the book I don't really think the pink fits with Cam's narrative voice at all. Still, the visual of all the many candles is pretty cool and funny.


Find Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe on Goodreads, B&N, & Amazon.


  1. glad to see an honest review!

    here's my review of A MILLION SUNS. stop by?!?!

  2. Uh, I think you just made me glad I passed on this book.
    The idea sounded pretty cool but something about it just didn't grab me.

    Thanks for your honest review.

  3. I really enjoyed the overall premise of this one and there were a couple moments that I thought were well done, but overall I had a lot of the same problems you did. And that scene with the librarian? Scarred for life. It was just so absurd that I couldn't quite process it:)

  4. I feel bad saying that I'm "glad" you felt the same way as me when neither of us liked it very much... I just was starting to think that I was crazy! I read a few rave reviews and was wondering what I was missing... I felt the same way about the unrelatable characters. Also, I was not a fan of the writing style.

  5. Oh, boo! While I do like the idea behind it, if it's not executed properly, it can bomb. Sad. The cover's funny, though! Hope your next book is a winner. :)

  6. I totally know what you mean, Britta. It's always weird when there's a book with a lot of positive reviews and you're like "wait, what was I missing?" Every perspective is valid, of course, but it's nice when at least one other person feels the same way.

  7. I read this a few months back and it didn't do anything for me either. I feel that it was way too similar to Beastly by Alex Flinn for my liking...


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; I appreciate each one!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...