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376 pages, Paperback
First published May 20, 2014
“Don’t talk about school.” For a second, I imagine going back as someone other than Jason Chase’s girlfriend. My heart starts to race. Who would that girl even be?This book would have been more appropriately titled Overly Attached Lainey.
It’s not like my whole world ends every day.”Glinda Elaine Mitchell (aka Lainey) is a 17-year old whose entire world revolves around her boyfriend of 2.5 years, Jason Chase. At the beginning of summer, Lainie gets unceremoniously dumped by Jason in front of her family's coffee shop.
Micah glances back at me as he slides out of the office. His face twists into a mixture of sympathy and disgust. “That douche bag was your whole world? I feel sorry for you.”
Sobs force their way out of my throat. I feel like I’m trapped in a disaster movie where everything is shriveling into darkness and ash. Sunflowers are being uprooted. Puppies are being trampled. Whole cities are crumbling to dust.Lainie's entire identity rests on being Jason's girlfriend. She is a school soccer superstar, she's good at school, she's one of the more popular kids---but Lainie feels she is nothing without Jason. Lainie can't stop thinking about him, worrying about him, making up imaginary scenarios about him.
A few days later, I have a dream about Jason lying in a ditch, calling out to me for help. It’s four o’clock in the morning when I sit up suddenly in my bed, positive he’s in some kind of trouble. I should call him. I mean, what if he’s really hurt somewhere?Thankfully, she's got a good friend, Bianca (sometimes "Bee") who tries to give Lainey some good advice.
“Don’t do it, Lainey.” Bee yawns. “Nothing says pathetic like a middle-of-the-night text message.”
“It’s more than that, though. I can’t imagine my life without him. It’s like I try, but nothing makes sense. Everything was perfect, and now everything is crap. I need him back. I need everything to go back to the way it was.”Lainey goes crazy when Jason doesn't answer her texts. Because that's sort of the point in breaking up with someone.
“You know what? I’m going to text him.” Before Bianca can stop me, I’ve got my phone out and I’m rattling off an “Is this about your dad?” text.
Thirty seconds. Forty-five seconds. A minute. There is no way Jason is not going to answer me. He always answers me.
"I know he has a ride-along shift so I can catch him if I go by his dad’s place in the morning.”And despite all this, she doesn't think she's clingy. Is she?
Bee leans against a tree and starts stretching her hamstrings. “You don’t think that’s a little stalkerish?”
“I think he shouldn’t have given me his schedule for all of June if he was going to break up with me at the beginning of the month,” I say.
"You need to stay away from him at least for a few days, give him space, don’t be clingy.”Bianca tells Lainey to stay away from Jason. It's a good strategy. Give him some time to think things through, miss her, want to get back together with her. Lainey can't stay awau because Jason is her life.
“I am not clingy,” I snap. At least I don’t think I am. Crap, now I’m having doubts about everything.
A strangled sound works its way out of my throat. “Three weeks without any contact from Jason would seem like several lifetimes. No way."Because of her breakup with Jason, her summer is absolutely ruined. Hell, the next year is ruined.
The only thing that’s kept me sane without Jason the past couple of weeks is all the plotting and scheming in the name of getting him back. I try to imagine what my life would be like if it doesn’t happen. Days spent watching him from afar in the hallways, agonizing about whether to run toward him or away from him. Nights at home alone, wondering who he’s with.Finally, Bianca has a brilliant idea. All's fair in love and war, therefore, it's perfectly reasonable to use war strategy to win Jason back. Enter Sun Tzu's The Art of War. She will use the book and the strategy within and recapture the enemy---Jason.
“It’s by a Chinese military strategist named Sun Tzu. It’s mostly about war, but people have applied it to all kinds of scenarios—business, law, college, sports, relationships.”Yeah, apparently dead Chinese dude can help. She employs the strategy, while finding an unexpected ally in Micah the mohawked bad-boy who works in the coffeeshop. He wants something, too. Micah has recently been dumped by his girlfriend, Amber. They're going to pretend to date each other to get their exes back.
I squint at the cover. It figures brilliant Bianca would turn to some dusty schoolbook for advice. “You think a dead Chinese guy can help me get Jason back?”
How am I supposed to explain to him I won’t be okay if our plan doesn’t work? That without Jason I’m not even sure who I’d be anymore.But in the process, will Lainey fall for Micah instead?! Fighting off the Mongol hordes is easy by comparison to the battles of the heart!111!1 Har har har.
There’s nothing wrong with my life. Well, there won’t be once I win Jason back. Most girls would trade places with me in an instant.Pathetic. Desperate. Sad. Lifeless. No self-esteem. Her entire fucking identity is caught up Jaaaaaaaaaason, and this book was so painful to read. For half of the book, it's JASON JASON JASON then all of a sudden, BOOM, Jason, Micah, Jason. Yay.
I purse my lips. “Jason isn’t a dick. He just found some other girl he likes better.”Oh, do tell me again how Jason's not a dick? Jason is a fucking loser. He's a handsome guy, but he's a douchebag. He starts sleeping around the second after they break up. He ditches class. He's a terrible student. But Jason could be a serial killer and Lainey would still excuse him for it.
Micah runs a hand through his mohawk. The humidity has mostly flattened it. “And then he dumped you at your job, in front of your friends.”
“He probably figured it was the one place I wouldn’t make a scene.”
Jason is a bad-boy poster child. Cheats on tests. Skips class whenever he wants as long as it’s not soccer season.” She pauses. “Gets caught with weed in his locker?”And knowing that Jason is such a motherfucking douchebag just makes me despise Lainey even more for being such a doormat for him.
Okay, so maybe Jason is a little rough around the edges, but it makes him more interesting than someone who follows all the rules.
“You’re like this punk-rock baker,” I say, shaking my head.While Lainey is busy trying to win back the elusive Jason, she's finding time to fall in love with Micah. Micah, the asshole mohawk-wearing-chain-smoking-juvie-convict-coffeeshop-hipster-pierced-gangsta who listens to music that sounds like...
"...a bunch of cats being crushed by a steamroller"Who, naturally, has a heart of gold. Their attraction is so completely lacking in chemistry, and I cannot understand Micah's attraction to Lainey unless it's one of those opposites-attract thing, and even then, WHY, MAN?!
“You’re about as alternative as skim milk, Lainey.”She's clearly obsessed with a guy who's no good. She's an idiot who has no appreciation for anything that's not mainstream pop culture. She's an idiot, and their attraction to each other is so completely out of the blue for me.
“Does he think I’m a hooker?”HOOKER HOOKER HOOKER: There is a whole lot of slut jokes in this book, and I found it completely unacceptable. People casually refer to each other as whores, sluts, hookers, they make references to pimp. Lainey calls people sluts, and in turn, is called a slut for the way she dresses.
Micah’s eyes flick momentarily to the hem of my miniskirt. He coughs into his hand. “Why would he think that?”
“Nice dress, Lainey.” She rolls her tongue ring across her lower lip. “How are things on the corner?”Final notes: The book mocks people with alternative, goth lifestyles. One of her coworkers is shamed by Lainey for her baldness (a choice). People with an interest in dominatrix/punk lifestyles are mocked and they refer to everything in submissive/dominant vocabulary. Pretty girls are assumed to have fake boobs and hair. It's altogether an offensive portrayal of anything that's not main-stream pretty.
“I go through memory after memory, looking for reassurance that nothing has changed,
but it's like flipping through a book of stories I've outgrown.
Everything has changed.”
"But the reality is that everyone cares about what some people think."
"Any crisis of mine is a crisis of hers, and vice versa. That's just how we roll."
For a second, I imagine going back as someone other than Jason Chase's girlfriend. My heart starts to race. Who would that girl even be? I don't want to find out.
"Do you want him back?" I lower my voice. "I do. Is that terrible? We've spent the last two and a half years together, Bianca. I don't even know who I would be without him." "You would be my amazing friend, Lainey," Bee says vehemently. "The same person you've been since second grade. Seriously. You don't need Jason to define you."
"Why do you care?" He glances over. "You afraid of me now?" "No," I say quickly. And it's true. Even if he carries a switchblade and pretends to be badass, he doesn't seem much different from the kid I knew in fifth grade. "I'm just trying to... get to know you again."
"You're like this punk-rock baker," I say, shaking my head. "What's wrong with that?" "A bit of a contradiction, don't you think?" I wipe the sweat from my forehead, running my hand over my hair to tame the flyaways. I can feel it starting to frizz. Micah looks hard at me for a moment as we reach the cars. The sun catches his hazel eyes, reflecting ribbons of green and gold through the warm summer air. "Most people are."