Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz
It really was a stupid thing that Brent Staple did – doing it (so the rumour goes) with Chris Sanchez, one of the guy cheerleaders. Who’d have thought that Brent, the school’s hottest jock, could be gay? But the doubt about Brent doesn’t just hurt Tara – it’s the beginning of the end for an inseparable trio of friends. Tara’s training for the marathon, but also running from her father and her fear of ever being abandoned again. Beautiful Whitney Blaire’s got everything and nothing, because her parents have never had time for her. And Pinkie has a compulsive need to mother everyone to make up for the mom she never stops missing. The girls couldn’t be more different, but doesn’t that just prove the strength of their friendship?
Then new-girl Riley arrives in school, wafting her long black hair and a scent of lilacs. Suddenly, Tara starts to feel things she’s never felt before for a girl - and to reassess her feelings about Brent and what he may/may not have done. Is Tara gay – or does she just love Riley? And can the map of her deepest friendships ever be redrawn in a post-Riley world?
After seeing ( and falling in love) with the cover of Of All the Stupid Things, I couldn't wait to dive right into it when it arrived. Sadly, while it was an cute and adorable read, it lacked in some key aspects.
First off, I want to start with the things that I liked and/ or loved.
Tara, Whitney Blaire, and Pinkie were three girls who were a mix of very different characteristics, making it easy to find at least one to relate to in some way or the other. Also, each girl, I felt, had the voice and tone of a true teenage girl. My personally favorite character would probably be a tie between Pinkie or Tara because both were kind of mix of me because of their smarts among others.
Also, I liked how each discovered something key about themselves by the end. Since, it made Of All The Stupid Things interesting and a read that flew by in a heartbeat.
On the flip side, the first twenty or thirty first so pages were a bit too awkward and clunky for my liking, simply because of Alexandra using the same character's name in every other sentence. For example, within the first couple of chapters it went like this, " Whitney Blair waves....Whitney Blair points......Whitney Blair shifts...." and so on. Thankfully, once I got past this the rest improved drastically. Leaving me to enjoy reading Alexandra's writing by the end. Secondly, I felt that because of the constant switching between Whitney Blaire, Tara, and Pinkie, there was some much needed character development cut out, leaving the girls to never quite jump of the page and come to life. I don't necessarily blame Alexandra for this one, as much as I do as the switching between three different first person narratives.
Don't get me wrong, though, with saying the above, because other then those two complaints, I really did enjoy this book and the message of "accepting one's self and living life in the moment" that came from it.
In all, Alexandra's debut novel shows promise of some better and greater things in the future that I can't wait to see.
Grade: C+/ B-
Of All The Stupid Things will be released December 22, 2009!
Source: Publisher for Review. Thanks Rebecca!
Also, look for an interview and contest coming up later this month with Alexandra!