Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A is For Angst

Haworth-Attard, Barbara. 2007. A is for Angst. (Read in 2007. Reviewed in 2008)

The first thing you should know about this review, is that I feel slightly out of place reviewing it. I read it the week before Christmas. I've read about nine and half books since then. So it is what it is. A is for Angst has an unusual beginning to say the least. Not many YA books begin with a narrator playing with dolls. Let alone playing dirty with dolls. But A is for Angst isn't your typical book. Our heroine, Teresa, is fourteen and practicing what it would be like to be in bed with a boy. Her boyfriend is borrowed from an old friend, Barbie. Yes, that's right. Her mother catches her making out in bed with a naked Ken doll. (Talk about embarrassing!)

Her family is half-Maltese, half-English, completely Catholic, and 100% crazy. Her mom, at the possible detriment to her health at the ripe old age of 42, is expecting an unexpected “Boo-Boo.” Her shy father can’t even say ‘boo.’ Her beloved gnome-ish grandfather can’t remember who she is. Her sister is a wedding bridezilla, and her brother is sub-human (barely). No wonder Teresa must pray to the HP (Higher Power) to get a boyfriend, namely AAA (Achingly Adorable Adam), who is an AN (Above-Normal), A.S.A.P. (you know what I mean). No amount of list-making can possibly keep this all straight. Welcome to her life!

But that is just the prologue. In twenty six chapters, Teresa's life unfolds before all. Each chapter begins with a different letter of the alphabet. A is for angst. I is for Introspection and Idiot. Etc. The book deals with familiar topics...school dramas, friendship stress, family relationships. All of the plot lines have been done before in some way or other. But that isn't a bad thing. The book, the story, is entertaining. It doesn't have to be unique, groundbreaking, or original. If I were to compare it to other books, I would say it vaguely reminds me of Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging. Vaguely. Let me explain. Teresa like Georgia is fourteen. She's a bit self-occupied at times. And she has trouble relating to her parental units. She also has a tendency to get into really embarrassing situations. And she's crazy about a guy who doesn't know she's alive. And while she can't have the one she really wants, she's content to have a practice boyfriend of sorts. But not everything is similar to that one novel. Add in a mix of wants-to-be-popular really really badly taken from countless other novels, and you've got A is for Angst.

I sincerely enjoyed the book. It held my attention. It was a pleasurable experience. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to teens who can't get enough of this type of fiction. But it's not one that I love, love, love either.

(If you're looking for a "clean read" look elsewhere. I mention this only because since I review books for the Deliciously Clean website, I know some of my readers find my site through those links.)

I just have to mention that this cover belongs in one of the trends of 2007. Featuring Mattel dolls on book covers. See also Anatomy of a Boyfriend and Fake Boyfriend.


MotherReader 4:00 PM  

I'm going to keep a lookout for this title. It sounds fun.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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