I’m not a person who does cons, or competitions, or anything where I need to, like… organize my interests with other people’s. I’ve been fandom-adjaceI’m not a person who does cons, or competitions, or anything where I need to, like… organize my interests with other people’s. I’ve been fandom-adjacent, I have seen lots of taxidermy at museums, and I think I might know what a marimba looks like but I’m too lazy to make sure?
Anyway, you don’t need to know about any of this either, because all I wanted was a funny YA book with feels that was more about making friends than making out, and that is what you get here 👍👍👍. I haven’t read a multi-authored split-narration book like this in a long time and I wasn’t sure how it’d go, but it meshed great. There’s enough overlap to make things plausible but it’s not repetitive, and I loved being with all three of the girls, though Phoebe was the one who kept cracking me up. Her voice is hilarious and there are plenty of bizarre lols like "the triangle beater that had been to the dark side" and "indulging in poultry vandalism."
They all have such different things to do, and it’s really nice. Callie gets the heartiest drama (and the plot developments that are hardest to stand by, in my only quibble), Phoebe makes a really relatable friendship U-turn, and I basically thought that everything about Vanessa’s story was completely fabulous and I want more.
I’d probably have been happy reading any one of these girls’ novels, but reading them all together in one gives you all that frothy fun. A book set in a hotel amidst a bunch of different passionate weirdos is a great idea. No one leaves the building for almost the entire book, and no one is at home. Everyone is out in the trenches of this thing they’ve been planning for all year, and get set adrift one way or another until they meet each other. It’s just so nice.
Reading this was like eating a scoop of ice cream in bed every night. It made me a little happy place to rest in. And now I want a good reason to go romp around a big hotel....more
While I read this book, I kept wondering to myself in astonishment, “Why do I ever bother to try reading anything that isn’t a perfect classic, writteWhile I read this book, I kept wondering to myself in astonishment, “Why do I ever bother to try reading anything that isn’t a perfect classic, written by a beloved author and vetted by generations of awed readers? Why have I wasted my life reading anything else??”
Lizzie, calm down, I’ll tell you why, and it’s that time you read Moby-Dick, okay?
Okay. That’s true, but I did have a spectacular, thrilling time reading this one, and it was a little like falling in love with novels again. It just does it right. I only chose to read it because I wanted badly to show up for a book club that is mostly made up of people who don’t have one-year-olds at home, and so feel selecting 600-page classics is NBD, and when I started those first few pages describing the real estate prospecting of the conquistadors, I began to quietly panic.
However! It is so easy to read (after that). It’s pleasurable and swift and sharp, and I carved out as much time to read as I could because I enjoyed it so greatly. I wanted to sit back and let Steinbeck do his thing. He wanted to build a valley palace out of pure allegory and by god it’s what he did. It’s not that this is never clunky or unnecessary, it’s that he’s just so good at it I did not care.
Let’s tell the truth. I mostly wanted to keep reading about Cathy. When was she going to turn up again and what would she do next? She’s scary and fresh like glimmering broken glass and I loved it. Adam, by contrast, is a dusty tumbleweed whom you can occasionally forget is there. Which is not immensely strong for a hero of an epic allegorical novel, especially not when his foil is so exquisitely odd and glorious. But they are both carefully put in their places and given plentiful, curious side characters to deal with, and we get to watch their mechanism tick along til it’s done.
Like any 600-page book (I find), there comes a point in the last hundred when you start to wonder and check your watch once in a while. It isn’t the tightest ending I’ve ever seen, but it didn’t terribly dampen the experience.
I’m so grateful I gave this a try, and so refreshed from it. More like this please, mmmoohhhhhhhrr, as the one-year-old who keeps me from reading very many of these would say, if it were a pack of raisins....more