top of page
The Gap Year book cover

First published: 2011

Publisher: Knopf

Length: 320 pages

The Gap Year

A novel as hilarious as it is heartbreaking about a single mom and her 17-year-old daughter learning how to let go in that precarious moment before college empties the nest.

In The Gap Year—told with perfect pitch from both points of view—we meet Cam Lightsey, lactation consultant extraordinaire, a divorcée still secretly carrying a torch for the ex who dumped her, a suburban misfit who’s given up her rebel dreams so her only child can get a good education. We also learn the secrets of Aubrey Lightsey, tired of being the dutiful, grade-grubbing band geek, ready to explode from wanting her “real” life to begin, trying to figure out love with boys weaned on Internet porn.


When Aubrey meets Tyler Moldenhauer, football idol/sex god with a dangerous past, the fuse is lit. Late-bloomer Aubrey metastasizes into Cam’s worst silent, sullen teen nightmare, a girl with zero interest in college. Worse, on the sly Aubrey’s in touch with her father, who left when she was two to join a celebrity-ridden nutball cult.


As the novel unfolds—with humor, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and penetrating insights about love in the 21st century—the dreams of daughter, mother, and father chart an inevitable, but perhaps not fatal, collision.

Sarah Bird's books stacked

The Gap Year

“Spot-on observations of contemporary family life makes this headlong story both heartbreaking and hilarious.”

Publishers Weekly

bottom of page