Well, it's not exactly The Well of Loneliness, but it is an interesting read from a historical viewpoint. I have to admit that I had a hard time finisWell, it's not exactly The Well of Loneliness, but it is an interesting read from a historical viewpoint. I have to admit that I had a hard time finishing it once I realized where it was heading. The copy I read was actually tear-stained.
A good reminder of how far this country has come... and how far it hasn't.
Popsugar Reading Challenge Item 17: A book a friend recommended. (Thanks, Alicia.)...more
**spoiler alert** Hmmm. I think I'm really and truly going to have to learn to live by the Nancy Pearl fifty pages rule. 50 pages into MMEY, I was thi**spoiler alert** Hmmm. I think I'm really and truly going to have to learn to live by the Nancy Pearl fifty pages rule. 50 pages into MMEY, I was thinking, "I should be enjoying this." After all, I'm all for witty, gay-positive bildungsromans about smart kids. But this fell too often on the cutesy side of cute, and in so, so, so many ways just rubbed me the wrong way.
Teenagers, especially ninth graders, don't talk or act this way. Sadly, the parents also seemed pretty far removed from any reality I know. And as other reviewers have mentioned, the inner voices of the three main characters are nearly indistinguishable; If the odd pages hadn't all had the narrator of the moment's name on it, I would have been lost. I also have to say that I found Augie's characterization to be a little too stereotypical to be anything but, well, kind of offensive. I'm sure there are plenty of fabulous show-tune loving gay kids in the world, but come on. Also, (almost) no one finds fairy tale forever love with his/her ninth grade boyfriend. It is silly that both of the romances established in this story go that unlikely distance. The writing was clever, and there were definitely charming moments in the story -- but most revolved around Hucky, and can I say once again how much I loathe the tragic-cute-kid plot device?
I know a lot of people found this to be a magical read -- and I can see why -- but it didn't do it for me. ...more
I think this would have been a solid two-star read if I hadn't switched to the audio about a quarter of the way in**spoiler alert** 2.5 stars, maybe.
I think this would have been a solid two-star read if I hadn't switched to the audio about a quarter of the way in. It was Lower-case Will -- reading his chapters was hurting my eyes. But the actors who performed the audio were just fantastic. Especially Lower-case Will.
I did like straight Will much more than expected (as a non-fan of John Green), even though as Tiny points out over and over, he is VERY annoying, and definitely the only girl in the book (whatever, Jane). Levithan's Will was great -- very real, very smart, and his growth in the book was completely heart-breaking and believable.
The ending, though, was horrendously twee. The musical wasn't particularly interesting to me -- though the voice actors did a GREAT job singing Tiny's many, MANY songs -- and the multi-Will salute was just silly. Perhaps it was meant in a Boy Meets Boy, magical realism sort of way, but it seemed heavy-handed and Hollywood-perfect, and just didn't fit with the rest of the story. Maybe I didn't appreciate Tiny enough to buy it? Actually, there's no "maybe there". I didn't appreciate Tiny very much at all.
Good effort from both authors, but I've seen better from Levithan. On the other hand, I never thought I'd have anything nice to say about Green. ...more
I enjoyed parts of this book, but I think I'm more excited by what it means than what it is.
What it is: a Cinderella retelling in which the prince isI enjoyed parts of this book, but I think I'm more excited by what it means than what it is.
What it is: a Cinderella retelling in which the prince is not the point, or the prize. Here, Ash is torn between an alluring fairy prince (taking the role of godmother here) and the beautiful, self-possessed huntress who serves the king. What it means: a young adult book with an (LGBT)Q character can finally be about more than just LGBTQ issues! PROGRESS. Of course, it is worth noting that we're in the fantasy genre here, but it's a start.
Unfortunately, a slow, slooow beginning cripples this book. Fifty, maybe seventy-five pages in, things begin to happen, but it's another hundred or so pages before things get remotely interesting. Not a long book, if you were wondering. The ending, meanwhile, is rushed and unclear, and Ash's ultimate decision seems a little too uncomplicated, too easily made.
Which is another problem. Ash, though thoughtful and occasionally smart-mouthed, just isn't all that complex or interesting a character. No one is. As well as they work for the story, the other characters -- stepmother, stepsisters, love interests -- are all roughly sketched and dependent on a readers' instant recognition of their archetypes. Easy enough in a familiar fairy tale, but still suggests some laziness or lack of skill on the author's part.
Still, while the story is mostly boring and the characters shallow, Lo writes beautifully, and she's not afraid to surprise and challenge her audience. It looks like a lot of Goodreads readers really needed the challenge.
It's just too bad that a better book didn't break this new ground. ...more