Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Format: Hardback, 656 pages
Summary Via GoodReads
My Rating: ★★
A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!
Darren hasn't had an easy year.
There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.
Then one Thursday morning Darren's dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.
Told entirely in lists, Todd Hasak-Lowy's debut YA novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone, including yourself, is:
3. ridiculously complicated
4. possibly, hopefully the right thing after all.
This was a book club read, and I think the only reason that this was picked was because of the interesting way it was written. I will give it credit for finding a way to write a book in a series of lists, but this one just wasn't for me. I actually think if I could be a person that doesn't force themselves to finish things, I would have DNF this one, but I didn't because it was for book club. I am glad the rest of the group also didn't like this book either, so at least I was not alone in my thoughts.
One of my issues with this novel was that some of the lists were just so boring. I did not give a F-- about who sat in Jazz band, or the four streets he saw on his way someplace, etc. I thought this was useless information that did nothing to move the plot along. Honestly, was there a plot? Because it didn't seem like there was much of resolution at the end of this book. I honestly think that this book could have been cut in half. Although, some of the lists were only half a page, I still think this book was way too long and had too much filler.
I think my biggest issue with this novel was that I felt like Darren wasn't true to how teenagers act and think. I had a hard time relating to him, and I initially thought it was because my parents aren't divorced and because I might be too old for YA. The girls in my book club (who are still teenagers) told me they couldn't relate to him either, because he didn't feel like a teenage from the current era. I felt like Darren was really homophobic and I think it was the biggest issue I had with this book. It just didn't fit with the time period of this novel. If this was set in the '80s or '90s, maybe I could have been more behind it, but I feel like the current generation is really tolerant that his viewpoint didn't fit with the modern setting.
For the most part while reading this novel I just wanted Darren to get over things. Get over his issues with his parents' divorce, over his dad's revelation, and over this mysterious girl Zooey. I felt like Zooey was just throw in there as another "manic pixie dream girl" and I've read that story so many times that I just didn't care. Darren was actually kind of a jerk to everyone that I didn't really care at the end of story, but I did want some sort of resolution, but I feel like nothing happened! It made me so mad!
This is one of those rare books I would strongly NOT recommend to my readers. For me the only thing that it had going for it was the different format, and I don't think that's a compelling reason itself to read this one.
Happy Reads Everyone!