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The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  1,319 ratings  ·  218 reviews
An all-day scavenger hunt in the name of eternal small-town glory

With only a week until graduation, there's one last thing Mary and her friends must do together: participate in the Oyster Point High Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt. And Mary is determined to win.

Mary lost her spot at Georgetown to self-professed "it" bully Jake Barbone, and she's not about to
Hardcover, 239 pages
Published July 5th 2012 by Dutton Juvenile
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July 2012
18th out of 63 books — 137 voters
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16th out of 25 books — 60 voters

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Community Reviews

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The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life is by no means The Best Book You’ve Ever Read in Your (Pathetic) Life, but it may just be the most original. This was a novel that was brimming with unique flavor, ideas, and creativity which I absolutely adored. While I wish that Altebrando had managed to take more command of her narration and further develop the more serious and deep aspects of this novel, I can’t deny that it was funny, realistic, and a novel that I simply could not put down till I had ...more
This book just... Oh this book. I didn't like anyone. Seriously, I hated them all. Mary is crazy and obsessed with Carson, who's in love with Winter, who's also in love with Carson, while Patrick is in love with Mary, who isn't in love with Patrick, and Dez is just kind of in love with himself. That's what this book was about. It wasn't about an epic scavenger hunt that changed them forever, it was about some stupid fucked up love square with a little bit of scavenger thrown in to keep things in ...more
Jul 09, 2012 Maggie marked it as to-read
Recommended to Maggie by: E. Lockhart
I'll read anything E. Lockhart recommends. And there's a scavenger hunt!
¡Ayúdame! How much I loved this book. What's kind of crazy is how there were a few moments of "WAKE UP MARY!" sprinkled in and I still loved it. I won't ruin it for anyone but honestly, scavenger hunts have never been more fun in a book. If you're looking for a movie...Scavenger Hunt with Arnold. Bless his heart, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in one of his first real movies. Anyway, focus Eric, the book is fun. I like how it doesn't matter about who's smart or quicker, it's really about loving life (24 ...more
Ashley W
Wow, this book....It had a really awesome premise and scavenger hunts are always fun to read about. But this one was just ugh! I hated the main character and the supporting characters were all annoying, too.

Okay, the book is basically about Mary, a high school senior who's kind of a nerd and wants to win the Senior Scavenger Hunt in order to stick it to those who have bullied her. The book would have been really great if it had simply stuck to this and built on the scavenger hunt. However, a lo
The Best Night Of Your (Pathetic) Life was not quite what I expected. From the cover, title, and summary I expected a light, fun read. It definitely was a fun read but not quite as light as I expected. I was pleasantly surprised to find a mix of light and fun, and serious and contemplative between these pages.

Mary was the best thing about this book and the worst thing. She was such an easy character to relate to because she was far from perfect. She was not confident about herself or her dreams
I absolutely loved the first scavenger hunt in this story. Despite my lameness at them, I think scavenger hunts are pretty fantastic; mostly, I like the idea of them because it means clues and adventures and hauling weird crap around. I was excited from the moment Mary and her team got their list; I mentally went through all the items on the list that currently could be found at my house. I kind of wanted to go home and get them out, just because (I'm crazy)
While high school was never like Mary'
2 stars

This review can also be found on my blog Blue-Eyed Bibliophile

When you read the summary, it sounds like it's going to be a fun, summery read with a super creative and original plot. But it's not. It's about a girl named Mary who has a horrible attitude about everything and cares about all the wrong things and throughout the book you have to suffer through her whines and complaints about what she has and doesn't have. Unfortunately, this book was ruined because we have to read it through M
Sara  (
Verdict: Non-stop fun. While technically not a “summer” novel, it sure feels like one!

Perfect for: People who have had relationship drama. People who secretly like watching other peoples’ relationship drama (who doesn’t?). People who love lists and scavenger hunts (who doesn’t????)

Summary: Just before Senior graduation Mary and her friends Patrick, Dez, and Winter decide that they are tired of being semi-nobodies and that they will prove themselves by winning the annual end-of-year Senior scaven
Jul 14, 2013 Hallie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
Was a bit disappointed with this, as I've liked the other books I've read by this author, and it's both a fun title and great idea. It did have a lot of fun things in it - especially the scavenger hunt itself , and the kids who'd won the previous year, who set the challenge. Little things (and one rather major one) kept bouncing me out of it though - like Mary's not having a clue what "first-world problems" meant. The major one was the way Mary's crush on Cameron was handled - at points it seeme ...more
There was a lot I liked about this book, and there was a lot that I found annoying.

I dunno. I mean, I would definitely be down for participating in an epic night of scavenger hunting shenanigans. And I do think that one of the book's greatest strengths is that it manages to convey the sense of conflict and craziness that comes with graduating. I understand the whole "leaving your mark" mentality. But I'm not sure I buy into the whole "if we win the scavenger hunt, that'll really show Barbone an
Mary is tired of being in the backseat of her own life. And more than anything, she’s tired of being second best. That’s why she’s determined to win the Oyster Point High Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt: not only is it her last chance to leave her mark at school, but there’s no way that she’s going to let bully Jake Barbone come out on top again. But as the competition heats up, Mary’s team is no longer sure that they’re cut out for all of it, especially when every little tension ...more
What a great, fun, quick read! I loved the whole idea of this book, it being based behind a scavenger hunt. What a fun idea! I love reading the adventure the gang had. Of course there is girl drama along the way, but what high schooler doesn't have a little bit of drama in their life?
The only downfall I had to this book was I did feel a huge sense of character development in it and by the end I was wondering, well what now?
If your looking for a quick, fun read defiantly pick this book up!
I loved Altebrando's Dreamland Social Club and couldn't wait to give this novel a chance. Mary and her friends have always been the losers of her school. She wants to finally prove her worth by winning the senior scavenger hunt with her group of misfits.

Mary was a hard character to like. In the beginning she is very self absorbed and more interested in what she believes she has lost and what she things she deserves. Although she started out as self absorbed, Mary does grow over the course of th
Alice Of Wonderland
There's no easy abbreviation for this ridiculously long title. BNYPL doesn't look great. Neither does TBNOYPL. I'm going to simply call it "The Book" just to make it easier for you and me.

The Book is sure hilarious. I do love how the entire book centers on one night. It reminds me of How I Met Your Mother, which is centered on one weekend. I do mean the last season, of course. HIMYM is crazy, but they can do whatever they like. Because they are HIMYM. For me, some parts of The Book were kind of
I’d never heard anything about this book or the author when I started – I just picked it up after seeing a random ad for it on Goodreads. The concept really intrigued me. This crazy scavenger hunt just sounded like a perfect storyline and I was really excited to jump right into it.

The main part of this book is obviously the scavenger hunt. The list goes from toilet paper to various types of puzzles to skinny dipping. It all takes place throughout one packed night as Mary’s team goes around town,
Tsukushi Makino
I cannot believe how minuscule the ratings are for this book. I mean, COME ON. The book was fucking amazing. It was inspirational, it was fun. Mary may not be getting into Georgetown and Burke might be better than what we think of and Mary might be kind of a bitch and Mary might not be ending up with anyone BUT SERIOUSLY. This is the best book I've read in ages! I did not expect it actually. I took a break reading rock star romances and new adult dramas to make way for YA (because I read all gen ...more
I listened to this book on CD over the past week during my daily drive to/from work. It wasn't the worst thing I have ever listened to, but it wasn't the best either. The voice actor was slightly annoying, but overall she did an okay job.

My main issue with this book was Mary, the main character. She was selfish, mean, whiny, and super annoying. I know she was "supposed" to be the stereotypical nerdy overachieving band geek that most teenagers can relate to, but she was just not easy to like at a
Jules Goud
This book reminded me of a teenaged version of 'Sleepover'.

I didn't mind this book and it was very interesting. I loved the lists and some of Mary's dialogue was funny.

What I didn't like was the pining over Carson. Mary seriously needed to drop him. Someone needed to bust her dream. I didn't like the many love triangles. Way to much of them. To much drama about love.

Other then those slight issues, I loved going on this road with the yeti and Mary and her friends. Doing something that would make
This book was a super cute take on a senior tradition. I really loved that the tradition was a scavenger hunt that took place all through the night, and the entire time that I was reading it, I wished that my high school had a similar tradition where we would have one night to run around town and gather these things. It tested your knowledge of the area and the people in it.

As you expect with teenagers, there was bound to be hiccups and lots of drama long the way, from teams merging to lovers fi
Quinn's Book Nook
Review originally posted on Quinn's Book Nook

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando had a really fun premise. Basically, there’s this all-day scavenger hunt for seniors at this school (although this scavenger hunt isn’t really sponsored by the school), and Mary is determined not only to do well in the game, but to win. You see, Mary is a little pissed off that this not-s0-smart jock got into her dream school (Georgetown) and she did not. So she is really wants to show everyone
Jul 14, 2014 XxForeverXx_XxVampire_DiariezxxLuvsSHERLOCKandSUPERNATURAL rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of scavenger hunts/friendship/crushes.
Recommended to XxForeverXx_XxVampire_DiariezxxLuvsSHERLOCKandSUPERNATURAL by:, public library.

When I first saw the book, I really liked the cover. It was really pretty. Then after reading the blurb, I thought it would be interesting to read. After finishing it, I thought the book was okay. There was some things I liked and some things I did not like so much. Mostly I don't read a lot of books on scavenger hunts, so this looked like a good book to start. The plot wasn't glad, but at times I found myself annoyed at the characters and not that into it. At least it was a
The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life sounded like a light, fun read, and I was really excited to read it - I love books set at the very end or right after high school, and the scavenger hunt sounded really random and fun. Thankfully, The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life lived up to my expectations, and exceeded them, even! It's a super-fun read that has some depth as well, and I enjoyed everything about it.

The scavenger hunt was so much fun, and once it got started, I couldn't put the book d
BAYA Librarian
This is a fun kinetic story that blends a high-stakes scavenger hunt with teen relationship drama. Just as with her last novel, Dreamland Social Club, Altebrando is great at creating quirky but realistic teen characters who engage in witty and believable dialogue. While a lot of the story is about the affairs of the heart, it is also about friendship and the rites of passage teens experience as they grow older.

Just before Senior graduation Mary and her friends Patrick, Dez, and Winter decide tha
First Thoughts: Reading this book brought me back to my crazy high school days - and managed to make me VERY nostalgic. I liked it quite a lot, so this is actually 3.5 stars and not just 3.

(Originally posted on Alexa Loves Books)

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life is not only a mouthful of a title, but it is also a novel that made me nostalgic for my days as a high school senior. In particular, it reminded me of all the emotions I felt back then - excited and hopeful and happy about the futur
Sep 20, 2012 K rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: library

Scavenger hunts make me all anxious. I didn’t know this about myself before reading this book. So maybe just reading about them does.

It’s almost-summer, that oddly romanticized period of senior year between prom and graduation. Nerdy Mary needs something—one win—to show for all her good girl years, and the annual senior scavenger hunt is her last chance. She and her friends form a team and Mary *must* win. Really, she has an almost maniacal need to get awarded that Yeti lawn ornament by the end
This book was a really good read. I didn’t expect to like it so much. I really felt, I don’t know…connected (for lack of a better word) to this book because the characters are in the same stage of life I currently am in. It made me really wish that my school had an awesome tradition like the scavenger hunt.
After reading this book, you realize it’s not just a last night before a new beginning. It’s not just one of the last times to have fun and go crazy in your high school years. The story is als
Oyster Point seniors get to take part of what may be the best dumb teenage antic excuse in history: a scavenger hunt. Mary and her friends, Patrick, Winter, and Dez, are planning to make this their last hurrah after four years of being slighted and made second-tier to bully Jack Barbone and his popular crowd. But as the night goes on and friendships are tested Mary may need to discover more than just some esoteric items if she's going to make this the best night of her (pathetic) life.

The unofficial Senior Scavenger Hunt is a big deal at Mary's school, even though her mother has strictly forbidden her to participate (other hunts have ended with hospital and police visits). She feels strongly, though, that she has to start being active in her life; to stand up for herself and for her friends, who have been bullied throughout high school. One of the other teams they're up against is the main bully's team, and Mary is determined to win--at any cost. As the teams race through the ...more
Rebecca Gordon
High school can be the best of times and the worst of times. Mary feels it has been the worst of times as she has been bullied and lost the only thing she wanted a spot at Georgetown. What makes losing her spot even worse is she lost her spot to her bully and popular jock Jake Barbone. The Best Night of Your Pathetic Life by Tara Altebrando is a fun one night adventure that changes Mary and her friends outlook on life and high school. As a high school senior Mary decides she must compete in the ...more
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What's The Name o...: Scavenger Hunt adventure / Young Adult [s] 5 39 Jul 26, 2013 05:52AM  
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