Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Coming of Age novel.
Fifteen year-old CARAH GREENE was told at age four that her dad died in a hiking accident, but she's become suspicious as the years have passed. Carah knows that her childhood theories about her dad being a government spy or a pirate sailing the seven seas are far-fetched, but she hasn't given up hope that he is alive and will come back for her one day.
Contemporary young adult novel set in a small town in Washington State.
Every year when Carah blows out her birthday candles, her secret wish is that her father will come back into her life. Her fifteenth birthday is no exception. When Carah's emotional mother ruins yet another of Carah's birthdays and her stepfather does nothing to help the situation, Carah vows to herself that she will find her dad before she turns sixteen.
On the first day of high school, Carah's plans are temporarily forgotten when she becomes captivated by ROBERT CAMERON MCGEE. To everyone else he is Cameron McGee, the arrogant star basketball player at school, but to Carah he is Bobby McGee, the boy the Fates have designated as her soul mate. In Carah's frequent fantasies, she and Cameron are on the verge of forging a deep connection and setting off on an adventure that will mirror the one in her favorite Janis Joplin song, "Me and Bobby McGee."
A week after school begins, Carah receives an unwelcome surprise when her childhood friend TYLER CLEARWATER confesses his feelings and tries to kiss her. Carah reacts with indignation and she and Tyler avoid each other for weeks afterward.
To distract herself from her estrangement from Tyler, Carah spends time with new friends. She finds herself in uncomfortable situations involving alcohol, Truth or Dare, and a trip to a Seattle nightclub. She withdraws with vague plans to obtain information about her dad’s whereabouts. She also focuses even more effort into making Cameron notice her.
Soon things with Cameron lead in exactly the direction Carah has hoped. In what Carah decides is the most romantic moment of her life, Cameron kisses her and she takes it as a sure sign that he accepts they belong together. A few weeks later, however, she is crushed when Cameron shows up to the Halloween dance with another girl, after having turned down Carah's invitation. Tyler consoles her.
Despite Cameron's betrayal, Carah is willing to forgive him, until one of her girlfriends confesses to a sexual encounter with him. When Carah confronts him, he doesn't seem to care that she knows about and is hurt by what he did. Carah realizes then that that she's been fooling herself since the day she met Cameron: He isn't a romantic free spirit and he isn't her soul mate. She walks away from him literally and metaphorically and is surprised that letting go of her fantasy doesn't hurt as much as she'd imagined it would.
The next day, Carah overhears an argument between her mother and stepfather, which she believes to be about her dad’s location. Motivated by the assertiveness she found when cutting Cameron from her life, Carah is ready to stop waiting for the truth about her father to be revealed and to actively seek it out. When her mother and stepfather are out, she searches the house for evidence that her father is alive. What she finds instead are photos from the funeral eleven years prior, including one of her dad in his coffin. She is devastated to realize that the reunion she's been dreaming of for all these years can never happen.
After Carah's discovery, her family finally talks about her dad and the circumstances surrounding his accidental death. Carah comes to understand that her mothers feelings of grief and guilt have kept them all from communicating about him and from moving on. Together they visit his grave, which finally gives Carah a sense of closure and the idea that her family will start to heal.
Two weeks later, Carah and Tyler attend the first school basketball game. Carah is surprised and amused when the pep band plays "Me and Bobby McGee" to accommodate Cameron McGee's decision to change his name so he will have his own theme song.
After the game, Carah and Tyler talk like they used to. She knows that her feelings for him have changed and they are now in the midst of a true romantic moment. Taking a chance that Tyler still has feelings for her, Carah leans in to kiss him.
Two connective things: Why is Carah suspicious/hopeful that her father is still alive? It’s the governing premise of the plot but there needs to be a reason.
Second, does Cameron McGee listen to the song with Carah? Or does he just find it on his own. And are kids still listening to that song?
Otherwise, this is a nice clean synopsis.