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Things I Can't Explain

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  110 reviews
A complete re-imagining of Clarissa Explains it All as 20-something Clarissa tries to navigate the unemployment line, mompreneurs and the collision of two people in love.

She was a smart, snappy, light-hearted girl who knew it all at fourteen. Now a woman in her late twenties, her searching blue eyes are more serious, but mostly amused by the people around her. The gap-too
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Average rating 3.17  · 
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 ·  483 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Michelle (bookishinthebay)
an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

i've been going back and forth on this trying to decide what i want to rate it. some of it was fun, quick, and easy. but there were a lot of problems with it.

i was a huge Clarissa Darling fan in the 90's, so i was really excited to read this and see what "grown up" Clarissa was up to. i should've known it would be a bit of a disappointment just like the new Sweet Valley High ended up being.

Bryan Hall
I was pretty psyched to find out that the creator of Clarissa Explains it All had written a book about Clarissa as an adult, but sadly it did not live up to my fond memories of the show. Maybe it's my fault for expecting something great, or even good; I guess Clarissa was very much a kids' show, with a very pre-teen sense of humor, poking fun at a nerdy Dad-Joke dad, a lame (but loving & loved) tofu-obsessed mom, and a bratty little brother. But I thought that a grown-up Clarissa would be fun an ...more
Brittany S.
Initial Impressions 9/17/15: Probably somewhere around 3.5 stars but rounding down because it just didn't quite do it for me.
This is one of those cases where there was nothing specifically wrong with the book to lower a rating but it just wasn't quite what I hoped it would be. Clarissa Explains It All was one of my favorite TV shows of the 90s (naturally) and I was so excited to read about her new adult life but the book just didn't quite come across as Clarissa's voice. I think it's hard to re
Miranda Lynn
Mar 31, 2015 marked it as not-interested
This is one of those things where it's either going to be REALLY REALLY good or absolutely AWFUL hahaha. But I'm still excited. ...more
I'm a BIG fan of chick lit genre because I'm in love with a good, light hearted story with a touch of sweetness to it. A kin to sitting down to your favorite feel good sitcom or movie flick. Nothing too heavy. This story had some these elements in it but I also felt it was a tad bit forced. Trying too hard to be hip with certain abbreviated words and a language that just seemed too outdated and not realistic to be used in real conversations. The story didn't seem to flow nor did it keep me glued ...more
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars? (Points mostly for nostalgia).

Ah, the early 90s. I spent many an afternoon from age 7-10 or so watching Clarissa Darling and admiring her list-making abilities and computer gaming know-how. And who could forget the annoying Fergwad....and Sam and his ladder...and Elvis the alligator? So when I saw this follow-up to one of my childhood favorite shows, I had to snag it from the library. I didn't have super high expectations (what has Kriegman been doing since?) but sometimes you just n
Paula  Phillips
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Growing up I never watched the TV series Clarissa Explains it All as I was too young as it aired between ages 4-7 years for me. I had heard about it though as when I got a bit older Melissa Joan Hart starred in Sabrina and there was lots of talk about her old series being re-run on TV. Readers, of my blog and reviews will know that one of my tropes is renditions and reimaginings. Things I Can't Explain is what Clarissa's life would look like if she was 20-30 years old. I loved this book as I cou ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I grew up in the 90s and absolutely couldn't wait for Clarissa Explains It All to come on. Clarissa Darling was the epitome of my projected image of the perfect teenager. The show encompassed a light, fun side that could only be accomplished by a network like Nickelodeon.

I said goodbye to her and the Darling family years ago… then this book happened. I was elated to continue on with her story. To get the same euphoric feel I felt when I first started watching her write her name backwards in the
Sep 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgallery
When I first read the synopsis on things I Can't Explain I was excited. I like many others was a huge fan of Clarissa Explains It All on Nickelodeon. Granted I was in my teens then too, but the show did make me laugh and also a huge fan of Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina anyone?). So, when I saw this book, I immediately went into it with enthusiasm and couldn't help but picture Melissa as Clarissa in her twenties.

However, as I kept reading my enthusiasm level dropped. At times I found her pretentiou
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I looked so forward to picking up this book every night to keep reading it (and that's usually a challenge when there's so many good Netflix shows I could be watching instead..) Clarissa fans will be extremely pleased with it's numerous connections to the hit TV show, and new fans (like myself!) will have no problem jumping right into her mid-twenties life. Kriegman amazed me in his accurate depiction of the twenty-some female mind that we see through Clarissa's internal dialogue with the reader ...more
Ashley Jo
Apr 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a bust. The girls who grew up with Clarissa are too old to relate to her as a twenty something. This author also made the same mistake Francine Pascal did with Sweet Valley High...we don't want our childhood favorites ruined. I don't want to read about her parents fighting or some psuedo feminist nonsense about her dad feeling emasculated because his wife earns more money. Nonsense! I will watch my DVDs of the show and DNF this. ...more
Ugh, this was really disappointing. It tried too hard. And it did a cutesy job of tying in references from the show, laying it on a little too thick sometimes.
Joseph Gagnon
*sarcastic* Nah nah nah-nah nah! Just skip it.

Well, not entirely, but i couldn’t resist. The end of that book sucked. It all fell apart during the sex scene (i wont mention who with). It is obvious this story was written by a man from what he describes during that scene. Then i found none of the stories ended well. Kinda like Moffat writing Doctor Who. Which makes that line about Clarissa not understanding Doctor Who plots make more sense.

Don’t get me wrong. This book was cute. I wish it had b
It hurts my soul to rate this book as only 3 stars, but unfortunately that's what it is. I was, along with many other reviewers, a huge fan of Clarissa when I was 10 and she was 14. I looked up to her and envied her wardrobe. So how was it that I am now 30-something *cough cough* and yet she is only in her 20's? How is it that, even though she is older than me when the show started, she is now declaring herself a millennial when I'm too old for that? Somewhere in the Clarissa world, she paused t ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
My niece was a huge fan of Clarissa Explains it All, and of course we would watch the show together. This book allows fans to catch up and discover what this opinionated, intelligent and pretentious twenty-something year old is doing, thanks to Kriegman we are given a generous opportunity.

Clarissa is a likable young lady, most relate to, dealing with issues the best she can. In other words – she’s like you and me, causing appeal. Clarissa is all grown up, facing adult issues, her life is far fro
Morgan W.
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me quite a bit of nostalgia. It was well-written. I like the kind of woman Clarissa grew into. She was strong and confident, and yet even she had her moments of despair, self-doubt, etc. I did cringe at some of the adult topics (I don't like reading that stuff, anyhow, and it was weird to hear Clarissa talking about it and swearing), but it wasn't the focus of the narrative.
(view spoiler)
This book was a bit of a mess. There was no plot, and the romance had almost no build up. We had more time in flashbacks of a previous relationship, than we had current scenes with Clarissa and her love interest. The book had a tone similar to the original show, but the original show had the tone of a live action cartoon (which was awesome). That style might have worked for a kids show, but it just made the book a bit confusing. The fact that the book was in this bizarre cartoon/real word settin ...more
Nov 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't. Things I Can't Explain read like a novel from the point of view of a Millennial written by someone of an older generation who regularly complains that Millennials are too obsessed with technology and should appreciate their elders more. On top of that, the character of Clarissa is insufferable (and nothing like what I remembered her to be!), the other characters aren't very well developed, and the plot was too meandering. I did want to like ...more
Kristina Klausser
I was really excited when I heard a "Clarissa all grown up" novel existed. I couldn't wait to read it but honestly, I feel very "meh" about it after finishing. I loved some aspects (the story of Janet Darling's hit business cracked me up) but found others bizarre and not worth the time they took up (particularly the way Clarissa's love life and the saga of Ferguson are written). It also felt they were trying way too hard to be hip (who says "my peeps" anymore?). This book might be a decent beach ...more
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Clarissa was my homegirl but this book didn't do it for me. Way too wacky and over the top, hated the way that Sam was brushed off and the whole Ferguson in jail thing with the casual racism was not cool. ...more
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Completely unimpressed with this one. Definitely not what I expected or wanted from a 20-something Clarissa. She sounds like a 16 year old still. It was annoying to read and I had to force myself to finish it.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shallow. Glad I only paid $1 for it at the dollar tree!
Lee Osborne
Browsing through some of the more obscure channels on Sky recently, I came across some repeats of "Clarissa Explains It All" late at night. It was a pleasant nostalgia binge - I'm the same age(ish) as Melissa Joan Hart, and I always had such a crush on her! Clarissa was a guilty pleasure when it was first shown in the UK - I was aware it was a very cheesy show with a lot of flaws, but I could forgive them because she was a great character. A multi-faceted, intelligent, sharp, witty and non-stere ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My very first thought was: "Oh man, more Millenial-pandering", but about halfway through that thought I interrupted myself with, "OMG YES PLEASE!"

I hate when I do that.

Marketing geniuses have figured out that when we Millenials DO have a little bit of disposable income, we are happy to throw it at nostalgia. And I resent that and I don't like being considered predictable...but I often end up buying the product, whatever it is, anyway, and loving it.

I REALLY hate when I do that.

This is Clarissa,
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like most people who read this book, I grew up obsessed with Clarissa. As a kid, I dressed like her and, as an adult, I adore my Clarissa DVD set. I was so excited to read this book and catch up with Clarissa as an adult, but it completely missed the mark.

First of all, when the show finished in 1994, Clarissa would've been about 17 years old. In 2015, the year this book was published, she would've been in her late 30s, not her late 20s as portrayed in the book. As someone who always looked up to
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the story and the reader for the audiobook was quite good.

Unfortunately, the editor needed to take a few more passes. There are repeated lines all over the place and one instance where the reader apologizes that she needed to swallow before she started the next line.

Technical issues aside, I enjoyed this book. It doesn’t quite feel like Clarissa, but it was a believable direction for her to go with her life.

There was a lot of ridiculouslness, especially with her parents and her
Jun 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
Audio book review

Probably the worst editing I’ve heard in an audio book.

There are times when the reader will stop mid sentence, speak to the producer and apologize because she still had water in her mouth and needs to swallow AND THEN STARTS THE SENTENCE OVER!!

Thank god this was free from an audible trial but holy shit that’s just not acceptable, especially at the cost of an audio book.

The story itself is fairly weak. It doesn’t feel like the natural progress of Clarissa.

The San stuff is handle
Emily Lynn Venable
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Summed up, this was a lighthearted, rom-com in a book. Of course I’ve always had a love for Clarissa growing up but this book while ultimately being written well, seems to me as another slightly cookie-cutter, wanna be rebel, über predicable story. I love the writing style and could relate to the life contemplations Clarissa goes through when she’s feeling anxious and while, yes, they did have some wild unexpected chapters and events in this story (her felonious brother?!?!), I felt as though I ...more
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Mitchell Kriegman is the author of Being Audrey Hepburn, and an upcoming novel due out November 2015 called Things I Can’t Explain — a modern day sequel to his groundbreaking cult classic 90s Nickelodeon show, Clarissa Explains it All.

Kriegman created and won four Emmy’s for his work on other childrens’ classics such as Bear in the Big Blue House, Book of Pooh and It’s a Big Big World. He was the

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