Book Review–Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden: Summer of 1994 by Otessa Marie Ghadar


This is the 77th book from my 200 Book Reading Challenge.

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Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden: Summer of 1994 by Otessa Marie Ghadar
Published December 2012


You know that summer, right… the summer where EVERYTHING changed? Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden (OJBG) is that summer. And Bishop’s Garden is the place where it all happens. It’s the summer of ’94 and naive and rebellious teens are engaging in all kinds of underage tomfoolery. Think grunge, Doc Martens, raves, the invincibility of youth, and epic first loves.

This book details the lives of a group of teenagers navigating high school and growing up in DC during the 1990’s. It’s all about teen magic– creating new and marvelous mischief with best friends, listening to mix-tapes and reading Sassy magazines, missing the last Metro, and getting stuck miles from payphones. Accompany the young heroine, Sarah, as she gets herself into idle summer misbehaving, love triangle betrayals, and friendship fallouts. This is a story about what her life is like before school’s truly over and she knows it’s all going to change for good. It’s about the friends she’ll never forget, those first mistakes, and her childish dreams not yet polluted by reality. She and her friends will engage in typical teen idolatry of hot musicians and renegades. They’ll set each other up and tear each other down. They’ll crash house parties and realize that sometimes in life, there are no ‘do-overs.’ They’ll steal cars, candies, and hearts. They’ll make you wish you were a teen again.

This book contains the full collection of scripts from season one of the oldest and longest running teen web series, “Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden.” And it’s the prequel to the epic romance between two teen girls that has become known as “The Sarah & Gwen Experience.” The love story develops in season 2 and spans to season 6. It’s part recollection, part urban legend, and part pure fiction, and completely inspired by the author’s memories of growing up in DC and the enchantment of her youth. The author, Otessa Ghadar, captures teen life as it is lived–dramatic, filled with self-discovery, and the pain of growing up. Together, as a whole, the stories and the characters ring true. Read the book and you’ll realize you’ve either been– or known– one of these characters before.

Venture into Bishop’s Garden and remember what it feels like to have your whole life ahead of you! Best part is, when you’re done reading, you can meet the characters by watching the webseries adaptation online (



The author of this asked me to read and review this book.

This book is different from most books I read because it’s written in screenplay format. The only other time that I’ve read a book like this is Stephen King’s Storm of the Century. The scripts are for the web series by the same name, which I tried to find on the website they listed, but the first season appears to be available for purchase only.

I gave up on trying to keep up with the exact specifications of the characters. If this had been a physical copy, I could have kept referring to the first page immediately, but it’s harder to do on a Kindle. But even though I didn’t remember everything about these characters from the beginning, their dialogue and actions began to paint vivid pictures in my head.

The plot itself isn’t bad and the dialogue seems pretty realistic even though I was still a kid in the time period this show/script is set in. It definitely has a 90s feel to it, though, based on other things I’ve watched or read from that time period.

The only thing I really disliked was the plot with Sarah-Maggie-Jake. It just seemed kind of lame to me because Maggie was obviously blowing things out of proportion. BUT I also know that teenagers can be quite petty about things, so it works out.

I liked Sarah, Kris, Jake, and Beth as characters. The only character I truly didn’t like was Maggie, but we’re supposed to have characters we dislike.The screenplay writing seemed to be well done, though there were a few parts I didn’t completely understand. Maybe those parts play out better in video format.

Overall, I liked the script and hope to catch the web series someday as it looks intriguing.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.





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