Wurst Case Scenario Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Wurst Case Scenario

Courtney adjusts to college life in America's Dairyland, Wisconsin, where she participates in protests against the dangers of fluorocarbon chemicals, navigates the tortuous path of long-distance relationships and chronicle the everyday dramas she encounters with her new friends. Courtney is a city girl interested in environmental law who won a scholarship to go to Cornwall Falls College in Wisconsin – the same college her grandparents went to. If it weren't for the scholarship, Courtney would probably enroll in Cornwall Falls as it is in the middle of nowhere, in a place where they don't really understand vegan-ism and is full of country-minded folk like Mary Jo, her new roommate who loves country music and thinks she's crazy for refusing to eat meat. Courtney thinks she might be all alone in this “Heidi-esque” town, when she meets a girl called Thyme, who is also a bit of hippie and they become friends. Both she and Thyme identify themselves are “individualistic” and refuse to conform to the school crowd. Later on, Courtney finds out that Thyme is a bit of a hypocrite since she comes from a very wealthy family that sponsors many projects at Cornwall Falls.
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As the school semester begins, Courtney gets a little depressed. She doesn't get along with Mary Jo and her long-distance relationship with her boyfriend Grant isn't going so well. She gets a job at “Bagle” Finagle, a bagel shop at the college and gets to know the employees who work there. She meets a guy named Ben who seems to like her, though she already has a boyfriend and has to "friendzone" him. Her friend, Thyme has a crush on Ben but because she lies so much about who she is and where she's from, Ben doesn't feel the same way about her. One day, there is a big Fall Semester Kickoff party in her dorm. Courtney thinks she hears people chanting her name, but to her embarrassment, they're actually chanting “Corney” who is the name of the giant cob of corn that is the mascot for Cornwall Falls. The guy beneath the mascot uniform, Wittenhauer, turns out to be into social activism and invites Courtney to join his club, called the Badicals. Together, they join rallies and protest against a variety of topics from hormones in milk to the school initials, CFC – which are the initials of a chemical solvent used in industry that causes the ozone layer to be depleted. As Courtney participates in more Badical meetings, she starts to have feelings for Wittenhauer.

One day, Courtney returns to the dorm to find Mary Jo in tears as her boyfriend, Joe, broke up with her. Courtney and Mary Jo bond over the incident, as Courtney helps Mary Jo get over her breakup. She meets Mary Jo's huge family, including her farmer brothers and they all get along surprisingly well. One of Mary Jo's brothers, Ed, seems to be slightly infatuated with Courtney. Meanwhile, Courtney is feeling increasingly anxious over the fact that her boyfriend Grant isn't as diligent about returning phone calls and texts anymore – she wonders if he's getting distracted by other girls. She is also not as strict about her vegan diet anymore as she finds herself broke and with a weakness for the free hot dogs - Bratwursts - that are given out at the rallies she goes to.

Over the thanksgiving holidays, Courtney returns home for a brief visit. She reunites with Grant, who looks and behaves differently than she remembers, so their relationship isn't the same it was before. After the trip Courtney feels refreshed, however, still slightly anxious that things are going to change and she's not going to like the changes. Meanwhile, she and Thyme go through a rough patch in their relationship as she finds out that Thyme has a propensity for saying one thing to her in her face and another thing behind her back. A few nights later, Courtney's worst nightmare comes true – Grant has been seen making out with one of her friends back in her hometown. Grant insists that nothing happened and that he was drunk, but this puts an irreparable wedge in their relationship.

One day, Wittenhauer kisses Courtney and Courtney realizes that she's doing exactly what she caught Grant doing when he kissed someone else. Courtney returns home for the winter holidays and she forgives Grant. They get together again and enjoy a great Christmas together. At the end of the holidays, Grant drives Courtney back to Cornwall Falls where he meets Courtney's roommate, Mary Jo, and her family. Mary Jo's brother, Ed, having heard Courtney complain about Grant and what he did before the holidays, instigates a fight with Grant. After Courtney breaks up the fight, she convinces Grant that there was nothing between her and Ed and that Ed just has a huge crush on her. Since Grant is not due back in school for another few days, he decides to stick around with Courtney at Cornwall Falls.

At the beginning of the Spring semester, Courtney's friend, Thyme suddenly changes her colors. She used to be into social activism – even protesting against things like using CFC as the school initials – however after finding out how hard it is to live on her own without the support of her wealthy parents she suddenly changes her colors and starts acting like a model CFC student. When Courtney and the Badicals protest about the CFC issue, Thyme shows up with the Dean to defend the school initials. Wittenhauer ends up showing up at the rally to make a statement against CFC by breaking Cornwall Falls tradition and revealing to the public the person underneath the corn cob mascot costume as a statement on taking responsibility for the school's identity. This convinces the Dean to have a sit down with the Badicals and discuss solutions to the issue. After the rally, Courtney introduces Grant to Wittenhauer. Just before Grant leaves to return to his own college, however, Courtney tells Grant that she doesn't think their long distance relationship is going to work and that maybe they should break up.

The story ends with Courtney and Mary Jo deciding they should just enjoy their semester at Cornwall Falls without dating anyone seriously.
Best part of story, including ending: I like how the story is written like a diary as it makes it easy to connect with Courtney and relate to the everyday issues she faces. The diary format also showcases Courtney's voice: her cattiness, her self-deprecation, her moments of optimism and horror and the humor she finds in her own "wurst case scenarios".

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was at the end of the book when Wittenhauer starts taking off his corn cob costume as a statement against using CFC as the school initials. It was funny how Courtney described everyone's reaction - anticipation, horror, shock and then relief that Wittenhauer was actually wearing boxers bearing the school logo with the CFC crossed out everywhere it appeared.

Opinion about the main character: I like Courtney's ability to find humor in telling her story, even when the situation gets embarrassing or even heart-breaking.

The review of this Book prepared by Sharon C. a Level 12 Black-Throated Green Warbler scholar

Chapter Analysis of Wurst Case Scenario

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   humorous Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   college Loving/sexing?    -   guy chasing

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Midwest

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Catherine Clark Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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