Coffee Breath, by Beth L. Labonte, isn’t the kind of fiction that usually makes my reading list. In fact, I never would have found it if I hadn’t been on Smashwords the night her new comic novel, What Stays in Vegas, went live. However, after following a few links, perusing her blog (Secretary 4 Life), and laughing myself silly, I bought this short YA offering. I’m so glad I did.
This charming piece is basically a surreal look at office life from a twelve-year-old boy’s point of view. Let me be clear: there’s no real story here; instead it’s a collection of character sketches – both in Ms. Labonte’s words and Joshua W. Reinke’s drawings. The whole piece is cleverly written and engaging, despite the lack of plot. The lessons Jason learns from a summer working in his mother’s office are lessons all office workers are likely to recognize. If they don’t, they haven’t been paying attention.
The book is well-edited; in fact, I found no grammar or punctuation errors at all.
After this tempting taste of Ms. Labonte’s talent, I look forward to reading her new novel – as well as her future work. I highly recommend this for anyone trying to explain to a child what it’s like to work in an office.