I started a new job this week, finally a change after 8 months of stress and pain. I was excited to have this fresh beginning and I decided to take on this book by downloading it as an audiobook for when I traveled to and from work.
I can’t say I enjoyed it, at all. There were parts that were interesting but mostly it felt like a whiny angsty white kid that I was supposed to sympathize with because he is the main character of the book.
The narrator himself had this bad habit of making all the women in this book breathless and soft spoken, I guess to identify that they were women and not the guys. But it just ended up annoying when the guys had different “voices” but all the ladies didn’t, except maybe his younger sister because she was 8.
The writing was pretty basic, and I mean that in a bad way. Everything was “he says, she says, they says, he says, he says, she says”, I started to just get annoyed from hearing says-says-says over and over and over again, when it was followed in context to these types of conversations: “uhuh” he says, “what?” she says.
Like… diversify your writing my man, it won’t hurt you. And yes, I put “they says’ there on purpose, because not only is this guy basic but he can’t follow basic grammar either.
The actual story line was terrible, we follow four teens as they finish their last year of high school while living in a YA novel but not being the main characters. The premise sounds great, how many hijinks would ensue? I wondered. How would these kids interact with this world? What about the adults, would they all be over it?
It sounded great and exciting, what I got was boring and kind of… redundant? We follow Mickey who is head over heels in love with his good friend, who is a girl, Henna (sp?).
Ever since she broke up with her no-good bf, Mickey has realized he is in love but he can’t/won’t do anything about it.
EVERYONE knows he loves her though, LOL OBVIOUSLY. Even she does, but she makes no overtures or flirts with him, instead she’s into this guy named Nathan that Mickey is ugly jealous over and just hates his guts for no reason whatsoever.
But then it was redundant because they didn’t end up with each other at the end, when the whole plot of the story revolved around it.
Issue 1: The Romance
This love story, I need to cover first, because what a wet kleenex at the bottom of a trash can it is. The only reason him and Henna get together is because after a mysterious car accident, she decides to pursue him in the name of “exploration” though, right before said accident, she basically told him she wasn’t interested and he wasn’t in love with her either. Wow, what a story that would have been if we followed that plot line. HA, please let’s not get ahead of ourselves. They kiss and flirt, but she’s also flirting with Nathan (gj girl) and again Mickey is just this ugly jealous and possessive brat. Henna calls him out on this, but what does it matter when they still get back together? The writer I guess is trying to critique this kind of relationship, but Mickey doesn’t learn that being possessive is bad, he suffers no consequences so what was the point?
Anyway, to make this short – turns out Nathan is gay, and presumably that’s why she gives Mickey a chance because he’s the only guy in their group of friends and the rest of the school doesn’t exist (So original from the usual YA model right?). Mickey almost gets this guy killed for nothing, blames him for things other people took responsibility for – again the ugly jealous type, and then magically – THEY HAVE SEX. (They being Mickey and Henna, not Mickey and Nathan)
Oh he’s totally into it by the way, its magical and beautiful and everything he’s wanted, and he’s so happy, they fit together so perfectly. So you can imagine my surprise when: after this whole ode to her body/the sex they had, Henna decides to be just friends (cool girl, he’s a jerk) and he’s totally okay with it. No hissy fit, no rage, no demanding why, no I’m still in love with her but I respect her wishes. NOPE, he’s on board, “yeah we’re totally friends not lovers” like… did I just miss that last few couple of paragraphs where you basically turned her into a goddess in your mind?
She’s the best sex you’ve ever had kind of deal – oh he’s had sex before btw. He needs to tells us this repeatedly because…. yeah he’s a different YA main character. He’s had two other girlfriends before Henna, we even slightly meet the ex, but only for him to remind us he lost his virginity to her… great…thanks for letting us know that’s her only defining characteristic. (Reminder: he has no other female friends, can’t ask Henna out and acting as if she’s his first love…like…really? I’m supposed to believe this is the way a guy with past relationships behaves?)
Not to mention the other love story in this book, about Mel and Steve, is between a 19 year old and a 25 (?) year old (I know they have 7 years age difference). Oh but that’s okay, as she reminds us in the book, because she’s “legal”. I thought I would puke, god what bullshit is this book? A jealous, possessive jerk and basically a sexual predator but that’s okay since at the end, he takes the girl dumping him with no aggression and Mel instigated the relationship so……. I can’t even.
Oh and the third one, between his friend Jared and Nathan, is about this open gay guy in love with a guy in the closet who presumably needs to get drunk each time when he’s around him….I can’t….. what is this trash?
Not to mention apparently Mickey and Jared fooled around a bit sometime in the past, he’s not gay though (no homo man!) because he’s a guy and guys would bang a tree if they could (legit what was said). This also makes him super possessive over Jared and it’s just terrible how Mickey defends this as – he’ll “protect them ferociously” if anything happens to them-. Like, take my abuse because I’ll save you?
No thanks man.
Issue 2: The Adults
As per usual YA novel fashion, all adults are useless. How…original. But what I hated most about the adults was not their attitude but how Mickey spoke about them.
Just…. his mom, his wonderful, hard working mom who kept his own father out of jail after he stole from her family. Oh Mickey doesn’t see that as saving his ass, no he sees it as her trying to save face for her campaign. Because she’s a politician, and any time she’s nice, its because it’s for the campaign.
She basically kept his own father out of jail and presumably pays most of the bills, yet he craps on her at any moment he can get. She gets home and is annoyed the teenagers are putting their shoes on her coffee table – the DICTATOR! She is in the car, asking how he’s dealing with his OCD, OH SHE WANTS TO MANAGE HIM FOR HER CAMPAIGN. Like…why don’t you direct half that anger to your lazy ass father, who’s an alcoholic and barely manages? No way man, you have to feel SAD when you see him, what a load of crap.
Not to mention when his father does decide to go to rehab, and says he’ll go after the campaign is done, Mickey immediately jumps to the conclusion his mom has decided that when, his father tells him, she didn’t. She’s wanted him in rehab the whole time…god Mickey pisses me off.
Let’s also talk about Mel, since shes 19 and legal apparently. Might as well make her an adult right? AHA. Man I hate damsel in distress tropes, and Mel fits into that perfectly. She has an eating disorder her younger brother needs to save her from, there’s an explosion and shes too busy asking “what was that?” to get the hell out of there. Girl, it was an explosion….get out – ask questions later. She’s super insecure making insufferable demands out of her ‘friends’, and of course Mickey understands it’s not because she’s selfish/spoiled but from this insecurity.
Yeah…uh…I don’t know how she functions.
Issue 3: The YA bit
Which in this case, are the long winded chapter titles explaining what is happening in the YA novel that this book is taking place in.
At first, I didn’t see the point of it, it just seemed to be used to make fun of the characters living this story. Oh haaha, her name is Satchel. She’s an “indie” (sp?) kid. I didn’t understand at the beginning what an indie kid was, and why they were calling them that. There was no explanation as to why, but it was told to us that the “chosen ones” were a part of that titled group.
Then something happened that pissed me off royally. After the chapter that Mickey recounts his sexual prowess, we get the long winded chapter title going on about how Satchel meets the prince and they kiss. But the prince won’t go any further out of respect for Satchel. And it all seemed…like an insult. Like the author is insulting what these women are writing in terms of relationships. As in – he should have torn off her clothes and banged her right there on the floor, isn’t he a man?
It disgusted me, especially after his main character going on about banging two girls. There is no nuance to his writing a relationship, there’s none of that: oh we held hands! I was nervous to put my arm around her. We sat in bed and I could feel my heart pumping. Because that’s too…. I don’t even know honestly. Like everything is about sex, and the way he wrote the sex scene, it is.
All the emotional connections you make with a person, that just comes from sex. Too bad asexuals, you’ll never have a deep meaningful relationship.
And that’s my last issue with this book. His “diversity”. I’m guessing he meant to do this for relevance and nothing else.
Jared the gay guy, Henna the half black-half Finnish girl, and then the two white kids with mental disabilities. What a great quartet, except they have no other friends, and everyone else is white. Jared has no other gay friends, no connection to an LGBTQ community, why would he? It’s a small community right?
No it’s just lazy writing.
Henna has no cousins or family coming to visit her. The half-Finnish part is also kind of stupid when her father is apparently some sort of…what are they called? Missionary! They’re going to central Africa too! Didn’t you know? Look how diverse this book is, it even knows a country on the continent of Africa! And then Romania also! Because they’re orthodox and… need converting to…Christianity? WTF?! Why would a Catholic need converting to Christianity??
(Also why is her Finnish father the missionary? Isn’t Finland mostly atheist? What…)
Ok, but they’re not the only minorities, Call Me Steve (I hate that goddamn nickname so much, I hate Mickey even more for this) is also half Honduran but HAHA he’s never been! I can’t….. what diversity is this? Also Steve is the magical doctor at the age of 25, he’s so magic he doesn’t mind hanging out with a bunch of teenagers.
Like why even bother with this placeholders to say your diverse when you don’t create a world where this people would exist? How is it Steve is the only half-Honduran in that area? Where are the other latin american kids? Or the community? How is there only one black person in this town, when she’s half? Did her mom just pop into existence? Where is their family?
And how is it that Jared thinks he’d be an “indie” kid, aka a main character/hero in a YA novel, when this author – trying to poke holes at the tropes of YA novels, can’t bother to make his own character fully bisexual? How realistic of a statement is that? Where does this author live honestly? (Note: I know where he lives its on Wikipedia but apparently he lives in a hole)
In the end, I disliked Mickey a lot. I hated his personality, how he somehow had anxiety throughout the whole book but then that finally was addressed as OCD, which it had been the entire time. How dangerously possessive he was to everyone but no one addresses it. How he’s somehow hero-ing around, saving his sisters from an explosion at a concert, the other from an eating disorder and trying to charge ahead and find out what the indie kids are up to, even though the premise of the book is that they’re just trying to live here. So why would he even want to get involved?
I disliked the guy’s writing even more,
how he put in a concert explosion after what happened with Ariana Grande. It felt like he saw this terrible event as a means to show off his character in his book. (Edit: Was told this book was published before this so my bad)
How he kept using “I know right?”, in arbitrary areas to make us relate to the character when I didn’t know what to “right” about. Like, oh yeah “forever young” is the title of their prom, I know right?? Okay…you didn’t plan the stupid thing can you stop judging every single thing you put your face in front of.
There are so many things I could rage about, but I will end this here.
I don’t recommend, I’m glad I didn’t buy it, and I wont be reading anything more from this guy. I know I’m not the best in terms of spelling and grammar, but I don’t have a team of editors.
This was lazy, insulting and, overall, a waste of time. Go back to the bottom of the trash where you belong.