I am not the biggest fan of contemporaries – that will not be the first time you’ll read that on my blog either. I don’t know what it is but they rarely ever appeal to me and the most notable exception to the rule is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
That was a contemporary I could relate to. It was one that was so wholly believable and one that was so wholly real that it spoke to me and many other readers I know on so many levels. And therein lies my greatest problem with a lot of contemporaries I’ve read. I don’t find them believable – if they, unlike the fantasy genre I delve into on to a daily basis – seem less real to me and, sometimes, insanely unbelievable, I am just not going to enjoy it all that much.
I don’t mind the predictability – that 80% of the time it all ends up nicely, wrapped in a neat little bow. But, I rarely find a story I root for.
This review is contains minor spoilers – only relating to characteristics and not actual plot.
Safe to say, I did not root for this story. I did not root for either of the main characters. I rooted for the main character’s best friend, she was incredible and I’d happily read a whole book centralised around that character.
The main character, the narrator, was incredibly juvenile. I’m may now be six years (basically seven) removed from that age – but I definitely don’t remember being so whiny. It may in itself sound like a childish word but it’s the only way I can sum him up without going on a spoiler-riffic, 500 word rant about why he got on my last nerve.
I was also completely split down the middle on the main female character, Grace Town – yes that is her name. She was both excellent in so many ways, yet also lacking without wanting to sound too harsh.
Grace Town was built around the trope of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl (aren’t they all), yet admiringly she completely destroys this. She tears down the idea and the dream of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She shows us that idea and the reality are two completely separate things. This was one of the parts I did enjoy – I do enjoy the destruction of over-played stereotypes.
However much I found the plot to be slightly problematic I did enjoy myself nonetheless. I finished this book in roughly 4 days I believe and I wouldn’t of done that if I didn’t find the plot riveting enough to go on. It did grip me, I just didn’t necessarily agree with it.
I found it to be well-written, the narrative was different than what we usually get and I enjoyed that aspect, even if I didn’t enjoy the narrator himself. The book was well-paced and didn’t give or take too much at any one time – keeping the reader interested and keeping the predictability low. I enjoy that it defied my expectations in certain parts, it definitely was something a little different, even if to begin with it seems like just another young adult contemporary.
Overall, I enjoyed this more than I thought this would, judging by the pace I ploughed through it. If you enjoy YA Contemporary, then I would definitely recommend this to you.
Have you read Our Chemical Hearts – is it your type of read? What did you think?