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The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,782 ratings  ·  270 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 Books for Young Readers
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,782 ratings  ·  270 reviews

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Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-own
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 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Maggie by: E. Lockhart
I'll read anything E. Lockhart recommends. And there's a scavenger hunt!
Ashley W
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
¡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
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps


On the Saturday before the last week of senior year, Mary and her friends compete in an unofficial scavenger hunt for the coveted prize of Yeti (and the glory of beating their friends and frenemies). Over the next twelve hours crushes will be revealed (and crushed), friendships will be pushed to the brink and laws will be bent (okay, maybe broken).

Over the past year, I’ve become a big Tara Altebrando fan. THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC)LIFE is my least favorite of her young adult nove
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'
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
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
Michelle Sallay
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
eh, I finished this, but I can't say I wanted to. Then when I did finish it, I wondered why I had bothered.
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book again made me realize that I was too harsh on it the first time. It's really fantastic actually.
Mar 01, 2018 added it
The best day of your pathetic life by Tara Altebrando is about these seniors and they are doing a scavenger hunt to win a yeti. Mary and her friends go to the oyster point scavenger hunt and compete with a bunch of other seniors with their groups. I personally liked this book because of the conversations that mary and her friends have in the book. Mary was a little too dramatic though she was too obsessed with someone who likes someone else. Besides Mary being obsessed and the pointless dramas i ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes going into this book considering I was obsessed with Dreamland Social Club. SADLY I WAS LET DOWN. I was iffy about this book from the beginning but I felt I owed it to the author.

Here we go....

Okay first of all the description on the jacket is in no way an accurate representation of the novel. This was NOT a book about "coming-of-age" or "crushing-crushes".. it was more like "pointless-plot" and "psycho-love triangles".

One of the main things that pissed me off was the lack of de
Aug 12, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
I would never claim that this is one of the greatest YA books ever, but wow, I enjoyed it! The scavenger hunt base is a great way to propel the story, and I loved that all the drama, tension, and angst of high school is explored in one action-filled day. I was instantly transported back to high school and all the feelings that are intrinsic to that period as I listed to this, and it made me overwhelming nostalgic for the optimism, fears, and hopes for the future that graduating seniors feel. At ...more
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
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book made me want to go on a scavenger hunt, and what a complicated scavenger hunt it was. This was just a fun light read, with a little teenage angst mixed in. Of course there was a complicated love triangle/Square, that left me wondering why any of these girls ever found that boy attractive, but fortunately I think they also came to that was about living in the moment, enjoying every day, and well just plain old growing up.
Feb 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-contemporary
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!
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have never hated a heroine like I have Mary Gilhooley-- and that includes Zoey Redbird from House of Night.

I wanted a fun, high-speed scavenger hunt with thrills and hilarity. I didn't really get it. I got a lot of whining instead.
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
I didn't like the characters enough to excuse the teenagedness. Self absorbed twats.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
OHMYHECk!!! This book was crazy!! Super exciting!! Omg the love triangles and secrets. The ending was kind of disappointing and cliffhangerish but overall great!
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was one of those books where most of the characters were pretty horrible, and I couldn't understand why they had any friends or why I should care about what they did.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I gave this book 3 stars because I absolutely love the whole scavenger hunt thing and I like books about road trips. While this wasn’t a road trip book per say, it did involve a group of friends driving around town together in the car so it still had that "this is the end of high school let’s make something of it!” vibe. It was a page turner and a super short read that you could do in one sitting if you want.

But all good books have to have some problems. First issue: the characters. I can honest
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
2 stars seems a little harsh for this 2.5 star book but here GR 2 stars means It was ok and 3 stars means I liked it and overall I really thought this book was ok.

Maybe I really am getting too old for YA because I feel like the characters in all the YA books I'm reading these days are these cringe-worthy hipsters. Maybe I just have to accept it? I really don't like them as protagonist though. It's sad...

There was one guy dressed with rainbow colored suspenders, high socks, a bowtie and I was ju
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I really liked the scavenger hunt plot and thought that was really fun. I thought the characters were underdeveloped and their friendships to be somewhat strange and also lacking, and I found the main character, Mary, to be a character I couldn’t sympathize with. She is attending George Washington University fully paid for by her late great aunt and she doesn’t even seem to appreciate it, instead holding a grudge against another character who got into her dream school, Georgetown, instead of her ...more
John Edelstein
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was defiantly NOT the best book you will ever read in your (pathetic) life. The plot is very dull and not very suspenseful. I had to read this book in english and compare it to Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. This book didn't relate very much to it due to the fact that the language in the two books are extremely different. Overall this book is fairly boring to read, I think the author could have done a lot better giving you a path into the main character, Mary's, mind.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
The book was ok, it was kinda boring reading thru it there is a lot of boring parts in the book. They had a Scavenger hunt and that was the only good part in the book but everything else was really boring. the boring parts weren't that fun to read some of the characters were annoying because all they did is whining and complaining, also the love and romance in the story was also bad it makes sense.
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Red Dot Review 1 1 Sep 28, 2017 06:48AM  
What's the Name o...: Scavenger Hunt adventure / Young Adult [s] 5 42 Jul 25, 2013 09:52PM  

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Tara Altebrando is the author of numerous books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Her upcoming book, THE LEAVING (Bloomsbury), is a YA thriller that received a starred PW review and is a Junior Library Guild selection. Her other YA novels include ROOMIES, coauthored with Sara Zarr; Dreamland Social Club (A Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens), The Best Night of (Your) Pathetic Life, What H ...more
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