Post Grad – Emily Cassel


What happens when your life doesn’t go according to plan?

Ryden Malby had a plan. Step One: Do will in high school, thereby achieving Step Two: Get a college scholarship. Step Three: Limit her beer intake in order to keep said scholarship (which wasn’t always easy). Now that she’s finally graduated, it’s time for Step Four: Move into a gorgeous loft apartment and land her dream job at the city’s best publishing house. So far, Ryden’s been three-for-three, but she’s about to stumble on Step Four…

When Jessica Bard, Ryden’s college nemesis – the prettiest, smartest, most ambitious girl at school – steals her perfect job, Ryden’s forced to move back to her childhood home. Stuck with her eccentric family – a stubborn do-it-yourself dad, an overly thrifty mom, a politically incorrect grandma, a very odd little brother – and a growing stack of rejected job applications, Ryden starts to feel like she’s going nowhere. The only upside is spending time with her best friend, Adam – and running into her hot next-door neighbour, David. But if Ryden’s going to survive life as a post grad, it may be time to come up with a new plan…

Ryden Malby seems to be on the up. College scholarship, best friend that she has known forever, and promising prospects at top publishing firm Happerman and Browning. It’s The Plan after all. Moving away from home and an eccentric family that Ryden wishes she weren’t related too is all Ryden has ever wanted. It’s graduation day, and if she can get through the ceremony without some form of disaster, tomorrow will be the start of her new life.

And to being with, everything seems to be going great. Until Adam, her best friend who is driving her to look at the gorgeous loft apartment and to her interview crashes. From there everything seems to fall apart. Being beat out for the dream job but perfect, valedictorian college classmate Jessica, being denied the keys to the apartment, Ryden is forced back to the last place she ever wants to be – home.

Facing countless months of un-employment when she can’t even keep a job at her own father’s luggage store, Ryden feels that nothing will ever be right again. A small light in that future however is David – her older and hotter next-door neighbour. Scoring her a small job as an assistant on the set of the commercials that he directs, Ryden finally feels like she has some to talk to. That is, until she messes up again, angering Adam to the point that he decides to take the offer of a law course in New York. Completely on the opposite side of the continent to Ryden, and it seems no amount of apologies will get Adam to talk to Ryden.

In a world with plans go off track, Ryden must work out exactly what it is she wants, and what she is willing to give up to get it.

Post Grad
by Emily Cassel is adapted from the screenplay of recent movie release of the same name, starring Alexis Bledel. I haven’t seen the movie from which the novel was adapted, but I have it on good authority that it was a fun, easy film to watch. Shame that the same can’t be said from the novel. I found the plot weak and that the characters lacked development over the course of the events. Nothing ever happened for a reason, things just happened. With an entirely predictable ending, there was nothing in this book that really got me caring about what actually happened to Ryden.

The most notable parts of the book were Ryden’s eccentric family. They at least, made it interesting to read – their bizarre and somewhat random acts breaking up the monotony of the rest of the plot.

To me, Post Grad was a concept that had a lot of potential, but was poorly executed in terms of plot and character development.

Pages: 243

Publication date: America 2009, Australia 2010


Teaser quote: If you ever truly want to be stared at, try driving down Wilshire Boulevard in your mother’s pink Le Baron with an enormous, half-shattered coffin strapped to the roof.

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