The Gap Year
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The Gap Year

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  1,090 ratings  ·  225 reviews
Cam has raised her daughter Aubrey alone ever since her ex left to join a cult. But now the bond between mother and daughter seems to have disappeared. While Cam is frantic to see Aubrey, a straight-A student, at the perfect college, on a path that Cam is sure will provide her daughter success and happiness, Aubrey suddenly shows no interest in her mother’s plans...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by Gallery Books (first published July 5th 2011)
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Kristin Strong
After skimming a few of the reviews of this book on Goodreads, I think I may have read it with a different focus than some other readers. Maybe it's because I'm the mother of a tween daughter who one day (too soon for me, probably!) will begin to think about her future in very concrete terms, and, less theoretically than she does now, about the type of human being and woman she wants to become. The divergence of a mother's and daughter's ideas about these vital topics was the core of the book fo...more
Lori Anaple
Things would be so much simpler if these silly teens would just tell their mothers and/or fathers about what is going on in their lives! I get that you want independence, but Come ON! With the serious shit that Tyler is living he would appreciate the fact that Cam would totally dote on him too! But nooooo, the girl is afraid to bring the clanger down on the plan. The mother would just blow a nut. No way could this woman ever understand. I bet she would have. Especially if Aubry would just talk t...more
Sarah Bird
Jan 05, 2011 Sarah Bird rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This was my therapy book. I wrote it to help myself understand all the strange symptoms I experienced around the time my only child left for college. Real Estate Regret was a big one. I'd drive around town imagining all the vastly better lives we could have had if we'd lived in different neighborhoods and gone to different schools. Very odd. But writing "The Gap Year" did help me so, for that, I give it five stars.
I'm having trouble rating this book. Three stars seems too low, but four too high. I enjoyed it, the writing was solid, but it didn't blow me away. This story centers around Cam, a lactation consultant and single mother and her daughter, Aubrey. The author allows each character to tell their story by alternating chapters in their own voice. Cam's story is in the present, while Aubrey's story is one year prior. The story centers around Aubrey's senior year of high school and her mom wanting her t...more
Diane Wilkes
I remember picking up THE BOYFRIEND SCHOOL one night when I was sick. It held my attention despite my severe intestinal pain and I read it until I was finished. I have read it multiple times and it is in my top five books of all time. I read all of Bird's other published books (ALAMO HOUSE, THE MOMMY CLUB) and as each one came out, I read them all--except THE FLAMENCO ACADEMY, which I just could not get into.

Until HOW PERFECT IS THAT came out, I thought her books were getting progressively wors...more
My review for Library Journal:
Traditionally, a gap year is a year taken by a young adult after secondary school and before starting college. However, in Bird’s latest novel, the title alludes to the break in a mother-daughter relationship during the daughter’s senior year of high school. Single mom Camilla feels her daughter, Aubrey, beginning to pull away from her, especially after Aubrey embarks on a romance with classmate Tyler. Add in the sudden reappearance of Aubrey’s father, who years ago
Lactation consultant, single mother, and judgmental control freak Cam struggles with her daughter Aubrey’s emotional distance during her last year at home. The story alternates between the beginning of Aubrey’s senior year of high school (2009) and the days just prior to her scheduled departure to college (2010), and between mother’s and daughter’s points of view. Band geek Aubrey has an awkward meeting with football star Tyler, which leads to friendship and then romance. Aubrey lies to her moth...more
Lauren Fidler
i am on the fence with this one.

Bird's novel moves back and forth between Cam (the crazy mother) in the present and Aubrey (the bitch daughter) in the past. We get Cam trying to get her daughter to pick up some trust fund money left to her by her father before he joined a Scientology-esque cult named "Next" (don't worry, assholic, abandoning daddy comes back later on). Aubrey is explaining to us how she met Tyler, who appears to be a cross between every role Brad Pitt has ever played, the star f...more
Dreams. Growing up. Relationships. Food Trucks. Cults. Secrets. Lactation Coaches. Decision-making.

I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed this tale of a mother-daughter relationship, told from both point-of-views. Told in a non-linear fashion, you learn about a mother and daughter trying to deal with their relationship, as well as forming new ones with others. Really well done as even with tension between the characters you really felt for both Aubrey and Cam, no matter what they were doing to each...more
Good Girl HS student Audrey meets a seemingly bad boy, and her mom gets upset in this novel of alternating viewpoints. The mom is a nurse who helps new mothers learn to breast feed. Her best friend Dori is estranged from her daughter Twyla. And the mother, Cam, doesn't talk to her ex husband, who has joined a cult and not spoken to his daughter. The book's perspectives also take place in different time periods. I started reading this and was drawn into it at first, but I was very busy this week...more
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. What is interesting to me is how I could identify with the mother (as the parent of a teenage daughter) and yet still have these intense flashbacks of being on the cusp of adulthood and would then find myself identifying with the daughter. There were elements to the story that made me roll my eyes, but the core story kept me interested.
Timing is everything when a certain book finds you...loved this story !
Maddi Sojourner
I really enjoyed this novel, from the viewpoint of a single mom of a recent high school graduate, and the daughter while she is still experiencing her senior year. Sarah Bird did a terrific job with the lagged viewpoint of the daughter, and one of the book's strengths is Bird's ability to reframe our expectations again and again from both the viewpoint change and the time difference. The mother is Cam, a lactation consultant whose husband abandoned her to a Scientology-like cult, and she is deal...more
Cocktails and Books
I had a hard time getting through this book. It was well-written, but I think it hit too close to home for me in some aspects. I could really identify with Cam in the fact that she feels out of touch with her teenage daughter. She has the same concerns and worries that I think we all have for our kids. In those respects, this story made me uncomfortable--only because I am feeling many of the same emotions regarding my own daughter. It didn't help matters that the story's most significant events...more
Mary (BookHounds)

Cam, a lactation consultant and single mother, can no longer connect with her daughter, Aubrey. Aubrey's father ran away to join the circus, a cult like religion when she was just three and although she is left with a trust fund for college, the two have had no real contact. Just as Aubrey is approaching her senior year, she meets the school football star and hottie, Tyler. As a band geek, Aubrey and Tyler should have never met, much alone fall in love, so as the two become cl...more
This book has a great premise and lots of potential: a single mother and daughter go through some growing pains and typical adolescent shtuff during the daughter's senior year of high school. Here's a simple list of what I liked and disliked.
*Written alternately through the mother's and daughter's points of view, every adult will be able to commiserate with both the daughter (whose mother is maddeningly nosy and out of touch) and the mother (trying desperately to connect with her progeny w...more

The Gap Year is a story about transition told from two perspectives. First, single mother, lactation consultant and full-time dreamer, Camille's storyline begins in the summer/fall of 2010, as she struggles with her relationship with her daughter after a year of disappointment and confusion. Camille is struggling with two main feelings: regret and confusion. Regret because she fears her life has been filled with wrong choices: the wrong man, the wrong house in the wrong neighborhood, the wrong j...more
Originally reviewed on Rather Be Reading Blog

Once in awhile I am lucky enough to read a book I cannot stop thinking about. I want to send carrier pigeons and take out an ad on TV just to inform people of its pure genius. After reading over 90 books so far this year, The Gap Year easily fits in my Top 5 of 2011.

First, writing style – Bird alternates chapters between Mom (Cam) at present day and daughter (Aubrey) exactly a year before. The imagery is crisp and the sentence structure flows perfectl...more
The book has some very funny parts, but most of those I had already heard or read at the author's book signing. I loved meeting the author and hearing her speak and read excerpts from her book. Sarah Bird is very entertaining in person. And she served cocktails! But since I read the book after seeing her, it felt like one of those movies where the only good parts turn out to be what you already saw in the "coming attractions" trailer.

It is a quick easy read, just not quite the mom-of-a-high-scho...more
In a way this book is hard to rate. It is highly readable and has snappy, fun dialogue. It is a dual narrative with mother (present day) and daughter (one year ago) and while I think it’s necessary to the story, and the structure keeps the reader guessing about what’s *really* going on, for some reason it bothered me in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. I think I didn’t like the daughter’s narrative as much as the mom’s, funny quips aside, even though I do think it was necessary to the plot....more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura de Leon
Oh dear.

The characters and situations seemed so plausible that they have me looking at my daughter's upcoming high school years with immense terror.

None the less, I very much enjoyed reading this book.

The keys to this book were the characters, particularly the main mother daughter pair, and the intricate weaving of their stories.

I genuinely liked both Cam and Aubrey, even if I wanted to grab each of them and point out exactly what they were doing to screw up their lives. There were plenty of th...more
The Gap Year was an interesting read and addressed some of the obstacles an empty nester, in particular, a single mother sending her one and only daughter off into the wide world of college. The book is written in alternating POV between mother and daughter. Not only is the writing style and attitude different, but so is the font which is wonderful for the visual reader.

The book addresses a common practice of taking a year off of school before starting college which I had two problems with: a)...more
I started this book and thought how glad I was that I had 3 mother/daughter drama. But then I realized that I am a daughter and had this same "breaking away" conflict with my mom. I looked at that time through the eyes of this mother and it made me stop and reflect on those years. It was so interesting to see how the same event could be interpreted completely differently by the two people involved. And honestly, I had this kind of relationship with one of my expectations wer...more
I had high hopes connecting to this book. Having recently sent my daughter off to college and enduring that cliche oh-my-god-I-cant-wait-until I'm-outta-here senior year, I was looking forward to connecting to Aubrey and her Mom, Camilla, single Mom and lactation consultant. Unfortunately, The Gap Year had a few 'gaps' for me. I never felt truly committed to either character. While I could emphathize with Cam as a single,working Mom, I felt she had her blinders up a bit to high to realistically...more
It took me a long time to get into this book and to really feel like I had a good understanding of the characters.

The mother's point of view is told in the present and the daughter's point of view is from one year earlier. It can get confusing in the middle of a chapter to remember who is the focus. I know there is a change of font but that only registers when you get a section with the mother talking on the left and the daughter on the right.

This book focuses on a volatile relationship between...more
I was blown away by the use of the language, and by the way the two narrators were separated by a year. The author was able to believably voice both the mother and the daughter. I did keep getting annoyed at leaving one story to rejoin the other though! Usually when I read this type of book I prefer one narrator over the other, but in this case I connected with both.
I hesitated between giving this book 2 stars or 3 stars. I would like to give it 2.5 stars. The plot revolves around a single mom who moved to the suburbs, despite her distaste for the conformity of the suburbs, to make sure her daughter got the best education and childhood experience possible. Now it is time for her daughter to be going off to college but over the past year her daughter has been derisively moving away from her and resisting her efforts to get her to college and away from what t...more
Even though, I did finish this book and it got better as the story progressed, I wasn't enthralled with this book.

The mother was way too high strung, the daughter was being a normal teenager but shutting her mother out, and the friend was funny.

I thought the story was going to be about the year between high school and college but it is not.

I struggled to get through this one, and it almost ended up in the DNF pile several times along the way. I just didn't like Cam, the mom, at all. She was so clueless. I know that that was an essential part to the story, but it annoyed me. Plus the writing felt like the author was just trying too hard to write something funny / creative / witty / poignant, and it came off as forced and ineffective. I didn't understand the inclusion of all the irrelevant details around her job as a lactation consu...more
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"Above the East China Sea" is going to be published May 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf.
My previous novels are:
Alamo House
Boyfriend School
Mommy Club
Virgin of the Rodeo
Yokota Officers Club
Flamenco Academy
How Perfect Is That
The Gap Year
I've been a columnist for Texas Monthly for the past eight years.
Awards include a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship; a National Magazine Award; Elle Magazine Readers Prize; People M...more
More about Sarah Bird...
The Yokota Officers Club The Flamenco Academy How Perfect Is That The Boyfriend School Alamo House

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