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Carpe Diem

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  2,160 Ratings  ·  331 Reviews
“I’ve got my entire life planned out for the next ten years — including my PhD and Pulitzer Prize,” claims 16-year-old overachiever Vassar Spore, daughter of overachiever parents, who in true overachiever fashion named her after an elite women’s college. Vassar expects her sophomore summer to include AP and AAP (Advanced Advanced Placement) classes. Surprise! Enter a world ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Feiwel & Friends
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Vassar Spore is sixteen, an only child of driven and over-achieving parents, and determined to be valedictorian of the Seattle Academy for Academic Excellence, go to Vassar College (her namesake), get a PhD, win the Pulitzer, and more. In fact, at the encouragement of her parents, she's got her entire life planned out and she loves it that way.

Then, a month after her sixteenth birthday, her birthday present from eccentric Grandma Gerd arrives: a plane ticket to Malaysia. Grandma wants Vassar to
Nov 11, 2011 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: good-uns, ya
I ran across CARPE DIEM around four years ago in the Feiwel & Friends catalog. They had the excellent good sense to reprint the wonderful President's Daughter series by Ellen Emerson White, and I wondered what other YA titles they had on the docket at the time. My eye was drawn to this cover right off the bat, and I still think it's just perfect for the book. I love the slightly faded parchment look of it. With the silhouette and the hair and the style it could be anything really. In this ca ...more
May 29, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
This book is so funny. Every page seems to have at least one thing to laugh about. But unlike most ridiculous teenage humors it really has a good theme. Vassar, the girl who is named after a prestigious college is trying to acheive a 5.3 or some ridiculously high GPA. Then in steps her grandma who makes her go on a trip with her in SE Asia for the entire summer. Suddenly the 5.3 isn't as attainable and she is forced to write a novel to earn AP-AP English credit. Her trip makes her realize that h ...more
Oct 31, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young girls or women seeking an innocent adventure story
Recommended to Beth by: Autumn Cornwell
This is a young adult novel, but I picked it up because I'm friends with the author. It was an adventure story that I couldn't put down-- this is definitely a book that would have been a favorite of mine if it had been around when I was growing up.

Autumn herself has traveled all over Southeast Asia, so the details of the herione's adventures are incredible vivid and captivating. In fact, though the story itself is fiction, I know much of the story is based on actual events that Autumn encounter
Cemara Dinda (Me and the Bookshelf Life)
Vassar Spore. 16 years old. 5.3 GPA. Named after a very prestigious women's college by her parents. She's got everything planned for her life, and I do mean everything. She vows to spend her summer improving her academics by attending a bunch of classes. But just when she's about to embark her classes, she receives a birthday package from her grandma in Southeast Asia. What's in the package? A plane ticket to Singapore and a birthday note from her Grandma Gerd. Grandma Gerd offers an "all-expens ...more
Sep 03, 2009 Summer rated it it was ok
Wow. Ya, wow. What a blank brained book.

Don't get me wrong here. Carpe Diem is a great philosophical statement. But I think it has been more artfully stated in media such as the Dead Poet's Society with Robin Williams. If you haven't seen that movie by the way, do. It's also more impactful in those stories.

Vassar has practically been engeniered to succeed. She's named after a prep school for Pete's sake! Any gap in her plans and she will not win the Nobel Peice Prize. That really equals death i
Mar 16, 2013 Cassy rated it liked it
The beginning is two stars, and the end is four stars. The average is three stars for the whole book.

I thought I would like this book a lot better. Heck, I thought I would be able to relate to Vassar Spore, the overachiever who gets an attitude change. I'm an overachiever; I am often super stressed about my 'success'. But Vassar isn't like that. That pretentious girl has it all together, because of her planning of course. So we end up with someone super annoying. That could have been on purpose,
Candy K
Mar 29, 2014 Candy K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CARPE DIEM, my first known Latin.

This story has truly inspired me a lot. Life is all about to LIM, aka Live In the Moment.
I love that how Vassar's been able to learn that, and turns from an annoying girl to a brave
and adorable girl. I absolutely enjoy the character development and change of Vassar.

And Hanks, oh my gosh, how much I like Hanks. A super funny, handsome, Chinese Malaysian Cowboy, how cool is that :) I love how he teases Vassar all the time but saves her every time just like a hero!
May 24, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
I secretly have a thing for books about travel—probably because I’ve never been outside the country and thus have to live vicariously. And this book brings it. Seriously. Vassar and her grandma are backpacking through Southeast Asia—a journey not for the faint of heart. And the author doesn’t sugarcoat anything (at least, I don’t think she does—after all, I have no experience in the matter). Through Vassar you get to see the awesome and beautiful things about the countries she visits, as well as ...more
Apr 07, 2009 Holly rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Vassar Spore may be the most hopeless overachiever you've ever met. On her TO BE list: Valedictorian? Check. Ivy League school graduate? Check. Wife to Hot Surgeon by 25? Pulitzer Prize winner? Check, check. With a life coach for a mother and an efficiency expert for a dad, you could say she was doomed from birth, but Vassar doesn't know any different. That is until a package containing plane tickets from her little known free-spirited Grandma Gerd arrives on her doorstep. Instead of a summer fu ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 21, 2013 Judy rated it liked it
A fun and unexpected read that I ended up enjoying. Vassar, the main character, was book smart and had her whole life planned out at sixteen. She has a personality that is irritating because of her constant need to plan and prepare for every possibility, combined with the need to over-achieve, I just wanted to reach in and shake her.

I felt like everyone in this story are caricatures of real people. None of the people felt real, not Hanks the Malaysian cowboy or Grandma Gerd the hippie artist or
Aug 25, 2013 Mama rated it really liked it
Oh Vassar, your bra is quite the magical artifact. Literally, that's the only words I can think to start out this review. The book had be one of the funniest and wittiest things I have read in awhile from a young adult book. It literally had me laughing all the time. Vassar, the stuffy girl needing a 5.3 GPA, on a summer trip across Asia with her foil of a "grandma", who is in the form of a tan crazy artist named Gertrude. I found the entire story brilliant, full of opium dens and food poising, ...more
Dec 24, 2008 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 12 and up
We meet innocently smug 16 year old Vassar Spore firmly entrenched in her routines that will ensure her acceptance to Vassar (hence the name- who could deny her with that moniker hangin' 'round her neck?) a PhD and Pulitzer...her life is planned, planned, planned by her well meaning parents, mom, a life coach and dad the efficiency expert.
Obviously they are set up for a fall, enter Grandma Gerd an unencumbered free spirit who has been living in Asia. Seeing the rut that Vassar is in she maneuve
Sandy Emerson
It was okay, but some of it was predictable. So much so that I thought the main character was an idiot for all that she was a genius, especially regarding her parents' secret. The main character and one of the secondary characters were total opposites of each other to the extent where I just didn't think it was believable. And, there were times when I was bored.

That said though, I did like this book. I liked the character development in how the main character changed from being quite arrogant to
Aug 17, 2011 Claire rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have EVER read. It is so easy to escape reality when picking up this book. The words create what should be created in your own mind. Let this book take you on a journey, for it will. At first glance I thought maybe it was going to be an okay book. You know the one you start then decide you will never finish it for the text was way to bland. But no, I was so very sadly mistaken. So stop debating weather or not you are going to read it just take my word for it and r ...more
May 28, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
This was recommended to me by a former student, Rachel. I really enjoyed the novel. It is an interesting trend that the heroine does not have to be completely likable which makes them more real. I also liked the theme that you can learn from living in the moment (LIMming). So many times in life our expectations are what get us in to trouble. It is often better to let things unfold around us.
Thanks, Rachel!
Nov 26, 2009 Aly rated it it was amazing
This book was REALLY good. It is my new favorite book. What made it really good is the author new what she was talking about because she has visited the place of the setting many times and most of the happinings in the book are her real life experiences, only made more interesting. I would recommend this book to mostly girls. It is a page turner. I read it in 2 days.
Apr 23, 2013 Allison rated it liked it
Very cute coming of age story that would be great for younger teens. As a whole, the story progressed like I expected. There were a few cheesy parts. I listened to the audiobook, so Hanks accent was annoying at moments but the lady that narrated the book did a great job.
Jul 11, 2008 Savanna rated it it was amazing
The most purely fun book I've read since middle school. It's a young-adult book, sure, but it is also the definition of pleasure reading. It reminded me of all the happy, adventurous, uncomplicated pleasures the world contains. And it made me even more excited to travel in Asia!
Feb 12, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
I laughed throughout this book - very funny!
Oct 21, 2016 Terrie rated it really liked it
We are reading this one for my high school book club. Love the entertaining story line of a junior over-achiever destined for perfection until an unplanned trip to travel Asia with her eccentric grandmother derails all her best made plans. I found myself laughing aloud a few times during this read.
Oct 13, 2016 Lauren rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favourite books when I was in high school. I probably read it 5+ times. It inspired me to travel, to journal, to make art. I even remember making "everything books" in high school, and in a way, I still do. This book is beautiful, creative, fun, page-turner with a lovely theme: learning how to just let go and live. Inspiring.
May 24, 2008 YoSafBridg rated it really liked it
Vassar (her mother always wanted to go to Vassar, and has now transferred that goal onto her daughter~figuring with the proper planning and that name, how could they possibly reject her???) Spore, sixteen, has her life plan set up through graduate school (as well as few life goals beyond that: (marrying a 6’5” blond surgeon {she’d settle for a judge} by age 25 {for love}; having three children by age 35 {two girls one boy}; publish the definitive book {subject as yet undecided} by age 37; and wi ...more
Jessica Marie
Sep 08, 2016 Jessica Marie rated it liked it
Since I spend most of my time daydreaming of traveling the world. It only seems fitting that I travel vicariously through books. When I found this book at my local library and I read the premise, I couldn't help but check it out right away. I mean a blackmailing grandmother who forces our MC to travel through Southeast Asia? If that doesn’t sound intriguing for wistful adventurists like myself I don’t know what does!

This book started off okay, with 16 year old Vassar Spore about to embark on a t
May 02, 2013 Bianca rated it liked it
Grandmothers are not supposed to blackmail their son and daughter-in-law into letting their granddaughter spend the summer traveling through Southeast Asia with them, particularly when said son and daughter-in-law are an upstanding efficiency expert and former life coach. Then again, the Spores are hardly your usual family. Vassar Spore, the sixteen year old daughter of Leon and Althea Spore (so named because “If an applicant to Vassar, the elite women’s college, was named Vassar in addition to ...more
Apr 17, 2013 Cindy rated it really liked it
Carpe Diem was one of those spontaneous choices from the library because it was on audio. I hadn’t heard of it before, but when I checked out the reviews, I saw that it had a good rating and from the summary it sounded quite interesting. While Vassar is a little difficult to like at first, she definitely does grow up, as she gets herself in and out of crazy situations that had me rushing through the book to find out what she got into next.

Vassar has her life planned out every step of the way, fo
Dec 15, 2015 Reyna rated it liked it
So, if I'm being honest, I just saw this book and thought the cover looked cool, so I read it. Not the best way to find books, I know, but you do have to admit it's a pretty cool cover.

Now, how about the actual book. What did I think of that, you ask?

(Well you could probably already tell because I rated it three stars but that's not the point)

The basic plot is Vassar is a great student, great child, does great on all aspects of life. One day, she gets tickets in the mail from her grandma that's
I've read this book multi times by now and every time I discover something new! Some kind of foreshadowing or a new meaning behind a certain scene - love it!
It was my first time reading it in English and - finally - I understood Vassar's (or Frangi's? ;)) references to Hanks' drawl ! Unfortunately, it wasn't included in the German translation!

I, personally, just love the book! It makes me happy, laugh out loud and smile. It’s one of the books on my “read-
Nov 04, 2010 Anna rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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“Shut up, cowboy."
Yes, ma'am."
And give me a kiss."
Yes, ma'am.”
“He say: May you and Hanks have long life together with many little Hanks!"
I gasped.
I'll drink to that," said Hanks with a grin and quickly downed his lao-lao.”
More quotes…