The Thing I Should Have Known: Review of The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know

20150710thethingThe Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know Book 1, Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years by Brent Hartinger

I requested The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know because it was by the same author who wrote Geography Club. I’d never read the book, but I’d seen the movie and really enjoyed it.

Usually I don’t like books with young protagonists, owing to my singular hatred of anybody under the age of 25, and issue I’ve struggled with just about my entire life. But I did really like Geography Club.

Thus the thing I should have known. I haven’t been able to finish this book because I can not stand the protag. He has that John Green style over-analytical naivety that just sets my fucking teeth on edge.

Maybe it’s jealousy because I was never the kind of person who felt safe enough in my own home and with my own family to be that adorkably lost all the time, but God Damnit I can’t take it.

Somebody else would probably love this book. Somebody who enjoys painfully innocent young men who don’t actually get hurt so much as they learn deep lessons. Lessons the reader themselves probably learned or are about to learn just as gently and sweetly. I can’t take it.

1 star.

Dat Spoiled Brat Lyfe – Review of “The Before Now and After Then”

cover50977-mediumThe Before Now and After Then by Peter Monn

Thanks to NetGalley and Pen Name Publishing for the review copy.

I keep seeing article after article on how YA is the new thing, how they’re supposed to be better than regular novels. I’ve tried to read John Green, arguably the undisputed king of YA right now, and I can’t fucking stand it. It’s all about these spoiled white brats in the middle of the country whose pain I’m supposed to take seriously? GIVE ME A BREAK.

In the case of The Before Now and After Then, it’s annoying, whiney characters are only part of what bothers me. The books starts off with a dramatic loss, for which I am supposed to feel so sorry for the main character that I totally don’t care about what a tool he is for the rest of the book. His parents give him a car, his parents have two amazing houses, at least one of which has a pool. His parents give him a puppy, but all he wants is a boyfriend. So he finds another sad, tortured bastard to foist his drama on, and doesn’t it just follow that it turns out to be true love.

If you ever wanted to go to a place where the parents act like petulant children, and the children act like those nightmares where you’re back in high school but all your friends have needles instead of teeth, by all means come into the magical world of The Before Now and After Then. Nonsense made over to sound like truth, codependency and bad choices recharacterized as good living. A veritable smorgasbord of awful, all in one amazing little screaming, crying package.

Needless to say, I was not enamored of this book. The fact that they kill off one character at the beginning of the book instead of dealing with the complexity his presence would add, the fact that they try to pass teenage angst off as real drama, and the fact that throughout the whole thing, the people who are supposed to be mentors and leaders are, in fact, some of the most ridiculous and stupid characters in this whole thing had me finishing it on principal just so I could say that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know it earned this rating.

If a friend of mine had written this book, I would tell them, obviously, to try again, but to focus on what they know, not on what they think they should know. Don’t write for everybody else, for some imagined audience, but for yourself. For example, if this review doesn’t ring true at all, feel free to disregard. The book obviously wasn’t for me in the first place.

1 star out of 5 for at least not being written in first person principal on top of everything else.