Post Grad: A Novel

Post Grad: A Novel

by Emily Cassel


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

Ryden Malby had a plan. Step One: do well in high school, thereby achieving Step Two: get a kick-butt college scholarship. Step Three – limit her beer pong in order to keep said scholarship – wasn't always easy. Now that she's finally graduated, it's time for Step Four: moving to LA to land her dream job at the city's best publishing house. So far, Ryden's 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 in the Valley. Stuck with her eccentric family – a karate-obsessed dad, a politically incorrect grandma, a spoiled-brat 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 neighbor David. But if Ryden's going to survive life as a post-grad, it may be time to come up with a new plan…

Post Grad was made into a 2009 motion picture, starring Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Carol Burnett, and Michael Keaton

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312596262
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/09/2009
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Emily Cassel is the pseudonym for a writer who lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her bulldog, Percy. She is at work on her next novel.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Okay, okay, next question. Would you rather be a mongoose or a platypus?" Adam Davies, my tall, green- eyed, only slightly goofy Best Friend in the World, gazed up at me intently from my dorm room floor, as if my answer to this question were a matter of earth-shattering importance.

I took a sip of the beer that I’d gotten from the keg down the hall and pretended to mull it over. "A mongoose . . . Well, that’s a bit weaselly for me. A bit too much on the rodent side of things. But honestly, what is a platypus anyway? It has a bill, it lays eggs, but apparently it’s a mammal. I mean, how does that work? What does it do with its life?"

"I’m not really sure." Adam rolled over so that he was peering under my bed. "God," he said, "have you ever heard of a broom? You’ve got dust balls the size of cats under here."

I threw a pillow at him and it landed on his broad chest. "Hey, I’ll be out of here any day now," I said. "I’m done with cleaning. I leave that to the paid employees of Clarendon University."

He picked the pillow up and tossed it back but missed me. He threw worse than a girl; he always had. "So a mongoose, then?" he asked. "You’d be a mongoose? You’d have to fight snakes. That’s what mongooses do. Or is it mongeese?"

We’d been playing the Which Would You Rather Be? game for fifteen years, ever since we were seven years old and swinging next to each other in Jackson Park in Glendale, California, while our babysitters gossiped on the nearby benches, drinking Cokes and eating M&M’s (which they wouldn’t share with us because they claimed the sugar made us crazy—which it did). You’d think we’d be bored with it, and maybe we were. But it was so familiar that we couldn’t help it. It was something to say when there was nothing else to talk about, for one. Something to calm our nerves before an exam or a blind date— things like that. We just fell into it.

Lately our game seemed to focus not on the animals themselves so much as on what they did. For instance, you wouldn’t want to be a dog, because you’d have to do what people told you all day long. You wouldn’t want to be an ox, either, because those yoke things looked really heavy. And you wouldn’t want to be a monkey, because you’d have to pick bugs out of your friends’ hair all the time. And then you’d probably have to eat the bugs so as not to seem rude.

This focus on the animals’ activities was because we were seniors in college, and graduation was less than eighteen hours away, and we had our whole lives in front of us. We could be anything. That’s what we told ourselves, anyway. We could be mules— forced by other people to do what they told us—or we could be tigers. Needless to say, the latter sounded much better.

Of course right now I’d have to pick platypus, since that was the question. And because I’m not afraid of being weird. I mean, just look at my family. They make an egg-laying mammal that looks like a duck seem completely normal. But I’ll get to them in a minute.

Adam frowned at me playfully. "You still haven’t answered."

"Well, you got all distracted by the dust cats. Which do you think I’d be?" I said.

"Platypus, of course," he answered instantly, leaning back and propping his feet up on my hamper (which, unsurprisingly, was overflowing with laundry).

See? He knew me, unlike the other 472 friends I have— or that Facebook says I have. The truth was that hardly any of those people meant anything to me, but I wasn’t going to delete them from my friend list. I liked seeing their little profile pictures on my home page, and I enjoyed procrastinating on my English papers by reading their status updates. ("Sarah Adams is walking on sunshine!" "Brad Adkins is super stoked about his new wheels!")

Except for one. Jessica Bard. I had to admit, I didn’t like seeing her on my Facebook page. You know Jessica’s type: pretty, smart, supermotivated. Like, she’d stay up all night to study for a test and still show up to class freshly showered, her makeup perfect, with a plate of homemade muffins for the teacher. Barf. Of course she was valedictorian. (And her status updates were the worst. "Jessica Bard got an A! Again!" Double—or make that triple— barf.)

But I hadn’t done badly for myself in school at all. I’d be getting one of those nice little Latin phrases on my diploma: cum laude. "With praise."

So I’d been planning for tomorrow my entire life. I was about to enter the real world, about to get a job where someone paid me to do what I love, which was not, contrary to how it might seem, drinking flat Budweiser from a

POST GRAD keg and trying to figure out what sort of animal I should be. It was reading. I wanted, more than anything, to be an editor of big, wonderful books.

I devised the plan years ago. It was called, very cleverly, "the Plan," and it was pretty straightforward. One: I would do really well in high school. Two: I would get a good scholarship so my parents wouldn’t have to bankrupt themselves sending me to college. Three: I’d limit my games of beer pong and Never Have I Ever at said college so as to keep said scholarship. And most importantly, number four: upon my graduation with a B.A. in English literature, I would land a sweet job at the finest publishing house in Los Angeles (Happerman & Browning, FYI), so I could discover the next Great American Novel and marry Jonathan Micah Miller, who had become a literary prodigy at the tender age of seventeen with his bestselling novel I Love Everyone and Everyone Loves Me.

Adam downed the last swig of his beer and sat up. "You want another?" he asked, holding up the cheap plastic cup that said TIJUANA RULES, a souvenir all the way from our freshman- year spring break. (It was my only souvenir from that trip, and for that I was thankful— my friend Julie had returned with a tattoo of Mario Lopez on her butt. Needless to say, she’d been very, very drunk when she’d picked it out.)

I shook my head. I didn’t want a hangover and bags under my eyes on graduation day. "No on the beer, thanks. I need my beauty rest."

"You’d have to sleep a really long time to get beautiful," Adam countered. "I mean, you’d have to miss commencement and everything." But then he smiled. Because actually he thought I was pretty, and he told me so every time I needed a little ego boost. Because long auburn hair and blue eyes and good skin and a decent figure are nice, but everyone needs a little reassurance now and then.

"Well, good night," he said. "See you in the a.m., cum laude."

Adam let himself out, and I fell back onto my bed. I picked thoughtfully at the Ernest Hemingway poster on the wall and let moments of the past four years flicker in my mind in the form of a nostalgic film strip: getting lost in the library stacks, eating nachos in the dining hall, writing papers on Shakespeare and Faulkner, staying up late with Adam as we gorged ourselves on pizzas we’d microwaved in the dorm kitchen. College had been great. But I was ready for it to be over; I was ready to live on my own. And I was as certain about the Plan as I’d ever been.

Granted, I was eleven when I came up with it, so some of it had changed. For instance, I no longer wanted to marry Jonathan Micah Miller because, in the words of one book critic, " names is enough for the rest of us, you dick." And he would be twenty- eight by now— no longer POST GRAD a prodigy! But anyway, I was three for three on my goals, and, as I prepared to be shot from the cannon of my higher education into the battlefield of the real world, I felt sure number four was a given. I was ready for the world. So the question was: was the world ready for me?

Excerpted from Post Grad by Emily Cassel.

Copyright © 2009 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Published in June 2009 by St. Martin’s Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Post Grad 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
risadabomb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a very cute read.
LarissaBookGirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Its the most important moment in your life and your best friend is by your side. Unfortunately your family are creating an embarrassing sceptical of themselves, just at the moment you are taking the stage to accept your diploma. Why couldn't they have forgotten all about this and just stayed at home...?When Ryden was very young she had come up with "the Plan". It was a simple plan, do well in high school, get collage scholarship, and try not to get too drunk too often. So far in her life everything had gone according to that plan. Until the moment she was about to complete step four, and get everything she thought she wanted.The last and most important part of "the Plan" had been to land her dream job. Unfortunately for Ryden this was the one thing she had no control over. Interview after interview had been one disaster after another. Ryden now found herself broke, unemployed and moving back in with her family.Post Grad is not just about what happens after collage but is about life, love and figuring out what it is that you really want. There are some very funny moments, as well as some very cringe-worthy moments, and overall it's not a bad book. However it is somewhat clichéd so expect your typical Hollywood ending.
Paz_Amor_Felicidad More than 1 year ago
Just saw the movie and it was good - book is WAY better! It was almost the same except for a few minor details... good fun easy read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to get through this book, mainly because it didn't grab me and keep me saying, well, one more chapter tonight. I thought it was a relatively boring book. The book synopsis made me buy it, as it sounded good. I just didn't think it lived up to the interest the synopsis generated. The book wasn't anything special.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
We all know what can happen to "best laid plans", and that surely happened to the carefully structured goals of Ryden Malby. It's not that she didn't deserve for those plans to work out - they just didn't. She worked so very hard in high school, keeping her eye on the prize - a generous college scholarship. That she got. She also towed the line in college (well, pretty much), and graduated Now, is the great reward, what she's been working toward - finding a nice apartment and geting the job she's always wanted, editorial assistant at a top publishing house. Whoa, lucky streak just ran out despite her efforts. The job goes to a college rival who also happens to be good looking, and smart. What to do? No choice but to move back home. And, while home may have been where the heart was, it's different now that she's a young adult and sharing space with a really eccentric family which includes a penny pinching Mom, a strange younger brother and a grandmother who makes us laugh but embarrasses Ryden. There is good friend, Adam, and a really cute next door neighbor. Thank goodness for those distractions as her stack of job application rejections is mounting. This is a story obviously geared for young adults, and delightfully read by Llyana Kadushin. The film version starring Alexis Bledel with Carol Burnett and Michael Keaton is due out on August 21, 2009. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke
SabrinaGirl More than 1 year ago
As an English major, I really enjoyed this book. It is extremely sweet while being peppered with irreverent humor. I only wish that it didn't read so quickly, and that it was longer. I finished it in two days. :(
Super_Matthew More than 1 year ago
It's incredibly funny, honest, inspiring, and just plain true. I recommend this book to any one in or graduating college. It acts as a preview or a current outlook for anyone looking at life after college.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Ryden Malby has so far seen her life strategic plan work perfectly. She gradated high school with grades that enabled her to go to college on a full scholarship. She limited her social activities and focused on her schooling so now she is about to graduate from college. The final objective in her plan is to obtain her dream job at Happerman & Browning, a top Los Angeles based publishing firm.----------- However, objective four fails to happen when another recent grad prettier, smarter, and aggressive Jessica Bard scores the position Ryden craved. Instead of L.A. Ryden is back in the Valley living and moping in her family home being driven crazy by her parents, grandma, brother and employment rejections. Only her best friend Adam Davies is there for her but she fails him so he reconsiders Columbia Law School.-------------- Although much of the plot is as straight as the Bonneville Salt Flats Speedway, young adult readers will enjoy this sweet enjoyable character study of a recent college grad. Ryden is a wonderful lead who holds the story line together with her struggles over rejection, the eccentricity of her family, and choosing between her long time BF and the hunk next door. POST GRAD is at its best when Ryden goes job hunting as that hits home how difficult it is to score the positions you want coming out of college. Emily Cassel provides a delightful look at the plight of a POST GRAD that can be summed up by Adam who explains the ironies of screwy society that in Ohio it is against the law to hunt whales.-------------- Harriet Klausner