“If people were rain, I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
For a first book of teen fiction, I think this is okay. As a first book I think this is okay. I’m not swept away by the talent of John Green, which every girl who reads anything outside of Nicholas Sparks seems to be, but I think that this is okay.
The book follows Miles “Pudge” Halter as he goes through his first year at Culver Creek boarding school. We are introduced in the first couple dozen pages to his roommate, who is called The Colonel and Alaska Young, who has no nickname to characterize her, so I will do that. She is either your average teen girl, or bipolar. I was a fat kid who read a lot of books so my experience with teen girls is limited. Even the main characters are unsure about Alaska, her friends trying to figure her out makes up most of the second half of the book.
The second half of the book is a lot of rehashing of events that happened in the first half, and even when we get to the big moment at the end it feels anti climatic. This is in relation to the first half of the book, which deals with escalating pranks between the Miles’ friends and the group of Weekend Warriors, a set of rich kids, which serve as foils.
Pudge is a perfectly average narrator, which makes him the perfect point of view character for showing us how Culver Creek works. He is new, he is in with the underdogs, he’s in love with a young girl who will destroy him instead of the one who is, you know, nice. We see Pudge get involved with a group of friends, at public school he didn’t have any.
I’ll be honest, it was in the first twenty pages that I decided I didn’t much care for the book. Even though the plot and characters got stronger as events moved along, my impression was formed already. One reason was asinine and one was, I think, justified.
The asinine reason I decided I didn’t like the book was because he referenced the Greek god Adonis. Miles described the Colonel as having a body like Adonis. As characterization goes, this isn’t bad, I just don’t believe Miles can make the comparison. One of Miles’ character quirks is that he reads biographies, he doesn’t read anything, nor does he read what authors write, he just reads about the authors themselves. Miles is supposed to be a boy genius, but I had to look up who Adonis was, and I read Greek Mythology, so it broke the spell early.
Next characterization flaw was that in twenty pages Miles made three lists This created a problem because it 1)broke up the flow of his prose, 2) was very repetitive, very early on, 3) was almost totally dropped after the firs twenty pages, meaning the use of it didn’t show anything necessarily interesting about Miles’ personality.
I’ll stress again, this is probably just me, there’s no reason for those things to bother a normal person. The narrative, especially in part 1, is worth reading, there were a lot of funny things going on and you really got to enjoy the characters he was showing us. The second part, well, I don’t want to give anything away, but there is a lot less fun in that section.
All this said, I look forward to reading “The Fault in Our Stars” and “An Abundance of Katharines” at some point in the future.
I started taking notes on the books I’ve been reading, can you tell?