Thursday, January 28, 2010

Of All The Stupid Things (YA)

Of All The Stupid Things. Alexandra Diaz. 2009. [December 2009]. Egmont. 272 pages.

Of all the stupid things he could have done, Brent Staple had to go and do that.

Did he or didn't he? Did Tara's boyfriend, Brent, mess around with a cheerleader. A guy cheerleader? When Whitney Blaire tells Tara he did, then she believes her best friend. Without giving much of a chance to Brent to explain. He does deny it, by the way. But the idea of his being with another guy so disturbs her--whether it's true or not--that she can't be with him.
And no one at school has ever mentioned anything about Brent swinging both ways. Not now, not before. I feel like someone played a cruel joke on me, just to make the thought haunt me at night. Part of me argues that I should take Brent back because the incident really wasn't true. That said, knowing the rumor is false still doesn't change the images swimming in my head. (32)
OF All the Stupid Things is a messy book. Overly complicated by having too many narrators. The story is told through three characters. Three supposed best friends. Tara. Whitney. Pinkie. I think if this story had been Tara's alone it probably would have worked better. Tara's story is the main focus, in my opinion, her falling out of love (or lust, or like, or whatever) with Brent, and falling into love with someone new. Someone the cover claims is "forbidden." Step aside, Brent, and walk right in Riley. A gymnast who sweeps Tara off her feet. Tara never thought she'd have a girlfriend, but now that she's met Riley, well, she's so happy with her.

The main problem I had with this one is how mean and unsympathetic and annoying most of the three narrators were. Whitney was someone I didn't just dislike, I absolutely hated her. She was mean. She was spiteful. She was as horrible as horrible can be. Pinkie I didn't dislike so much as I just pitied her. As in cringing while I read her narration because I just felt so absolutely sorry for her. (By the end, I actually started liking Pinkie.) And Tara, well, Tara I was indifferent to. Mainly.

I also thought the jacket flap gave 100% of the plot away. It was definitely way too much information. Jacket flaps should tease readers into picking up a book.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Elisabeth Marie said...

I kind of understand the jacket flap giving it away a bit, I think that's basically fair to those who go into a "romance" book expecting boy-girl "love" or whatever you want to call it that they can relate to..

Becky said...

I see your point in a way. It is nice to know what to expect. I guess what I thought was "too much" was that they were telling the inner motivations of the characters--particularly Pinkie and Whitney. When there are no surprises left to discover in the book itself, that's too much in my opinion.