Brian Rowe’s Happy Birthday Trilogy is certainly the gift you didn’t know you wanted. I received the first two books of this entertaining series by Brian Rowe himself so that I could review them, and I found the books were so differently good then anything I’ve read before. After the curve ball ending in Happy Birthday to Me Again I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Here’s a look at the first two installments of Brian Rowe’s Happy Birthday Trilogy.
The story seems simple enough, cocky teen boy Cameron Martin who has everything a teen guy could want meets a witch who casts a spell that ages Cam an entire year with each passing day. Cameron lives out his final days with the same teen angst problems like Prom, the state championship basketball game and don’t forget graduating high school. He is no longer treated as Mr. Perfect when his age begins to show. Only one girl takes notice of him, helping him without judgment. Cameron begins to fall for her and realizes that she may hold the key to prevent his cursed death.
Cameron is not someone you like right off the bat. He is full of himself and only sees the face value in everything; you really do want to give him a good slap. He knows that his good looks will get him far and uses them to his advantage. However he winds up a bit wiser because of the aging spell and begins to see the people in his life differently. I think his relationship with his plastic surgeon father is the most dramatic for me. In an ugly way I was able to see how perfect his father wants him to be when he actually performs a surgical procedure on his own son in hopes of hiding his age. Cameron in my opinion is written like a real teenage boy. He has natural urges and surprisingly the same insecurities that a teenage girl would have with her own body. I think this is a character that young men of today would actually want to read about.
This book does deals with some dramatic family issues but also has comic timing that had me cringing and saying, “No, no, no.” I’m speaking of one scene in particular that has a much older teacher attempting to seduce a much older Cameron. I really did feel for Cam at that horrific moment. But it was funny, much like other moments that I know other readers will laugh out loud at.
Reading the sequel Happy Birthday to Me Again was an easy read because I already knew the characters. Some make cameos and more awkward moments occur in the new spell that is cast upon Cameron, the spell of aging backwards, right down to his diaper. And this can’t be good especially when he is to wed the love of his life, Liesel. I wasn’t sure if this was just going to be the same story but just written in reverse, but it had new conflicts that may have only mirrored the first book but with new embarrassing situations.
Cameron does grow up a lot from the first book. Even though he dips his toe a bit towards the old Cam when he backs out of the wedding he snaps out of it quickly and realizes what he has in his life is good. He does go through this book appearing younger yet he seems to take full control of things, which again can read amusing when it comes from an eighteen year old trapped in a much younger body.
I can say the two characters that I was pleased to see more of were Wesley, Cam’s best friend, and Kimber, Cam’s little sister. I thought that it was pretty obvious that Cam would bond with his sister and am glad that Rowe took advantage of that. I think some teens get so involved with their lives they forget their best friend at home. I think my only disappointment was that I didn’t get to read more about Liesel, but of course that’s because she goes missing and when Cam’s mission is to do anything to find her you can see how much he really loves her. Especially the dark place where he finds her, I really did cringe at the horrific situation she was in and what they both endure.
Brian Rowe’s Happy Birthday series really is something different. It takes a concept that we all know and spins the hell out of it. It has equal parts drama and raw comic timing. I prefer the first book Happy Birthday to Me, to the sequel but may like the third book after the surprise ending of Happy Birthday To Me Again. I think reading about both Liesel and Cam fighting together is what the second book lacked, now that they both have something particularly special to fight for I am really looking forward to reading the final book. If you enjoy books like Beastly or like those can’t help but watch comedies like 40-Year Old Virgin than this may something you can appreciate. It’s an eye-opening point of view and is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.