Monday, August 15, 2011

Skip These

I hate to do reviews for books I didn't like, but I wanted to mention all 10 of the books I've read for the 10 (book) Boy Summer.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I picked it up because it's being made into a movie starring Hermione and Percy Jackson, so I figured it would be good. Or at least interesting. Not so much. It didn't work for me because I didn't like anyone in the story. I felt so bad for Charlie, but I didn't relate to him. And I got frustrated with nearly every other character using him or trying to take advantage of him in some way.
I had a couple problems with the writing, too. I think the author was going for an authentic 15 year old boy voice, but would occasionally have lines that seemed to scream "look how profound I am!" ("I feel infinite" didn't work for me) And the inclusion of nearly every controversial social issue felt like too much to be believable. It kept taking me out of the story.

Mexican WhiteBoy. I think I picked this one up because someone recommend the author? Maybe? Even after I finished this book I wasn't really sure what it was about. I was expecting issues of race, or fitting in, or identity. And those ideas are in there, sort of. Danny doesn't feel like he fits in with his white mom or white school, but he doesn't feel like he totally fits in with his dad's Spanglish speaking family. And that's as far as those issues are explored.
I wish the author had done more with them. Instead there's a lot of baseball. And a few twists that felt like they were just reinforcing stereotypes. And then the book ends. As for content, there's a fair amount of swearing in both English and Spanish. There are also some very violent scenes.

Ultimately I can't recommend either book. I'm not sure who the target audiences would be for these books, but it isn't me.


  1. Thanks for being so honest! I was interested in reading Perks of Being a Wallflower for the same reason as you (LOVE that "...starring Hermione and Percy Jackson" line), but I think I'll just wait for the movie.

    By the way, I love your goal to read more books with boys/written by male authors.

  2. Thanks! It's been really interesting to read books about boys/by boys. Definitely not what I normally read! And (except for these two) I've really liked all of them. There are some very talented male YA writers.
    And I hope the Perks movie is better than the book!

  3. I've seen Perks of Being a Wallflower highly recommend it and your "warning" made me even more curious about it actually :)

  4. Mari, that's great! Other than the one qualm about the writing, it was really personal preference that made me dislike the book. It just wasn't for me. But I can respect that a lot of other people connect with it.

  5. O good to know.

    Have I told you how much I love your blog?