Rachel Star's Reviews > Sometimes It Happens

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt
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's review
Jun 02, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: published-in-2011, read-in-2011
Read in June, 2011

Unfortunatly, I didn't like Sometimes It Happens.

One of the reasons why Sometimes It Happens didn't work so well for me, was a lack of realism. It felt like the author was simply avoiding writing about anything complicated, so the main character was not allowed to deviate from the standard formula of a straight, only-child female main character with practically non-existent parents who is clearly liked by the forbidden sensitive/ musical/ writer guy, and has no dreams or aspirations of her own, besides getting over her ex / getting the new guy. Bland, stereotypical characters fill the cast; Hannah is as self-absorbed as it is possible to be without having an actual sense of self, and having read the book, I still honestly couldn't say whether she had any dislikes, likes or hobbies, besides Starbucks and boys. I remain entirely mystified as to why she liked Ava in the first place, and Noah wasn't interesting enough to become attractive; again, not a great deal of personality. These characters didn't feel real, and that made the book very difficult to read for me; I couldn't feel any empathy, or sympathy or anything at all for these cardboard characters. But that's entirely my opinion, and I think I could have got past that. However, in the book, there is a hypochondriac called Lacey, whose illness is treated so superficially that I was close to being offended. Including a token mental health problem just for the sake of it? Really didn't impress me much.

Another reason Sometimes It Happens wasn't my cup of tea, was the language used.The overuse of italics and parenthesis as well as the words "totally", "sooo" "actually", "like" and "uh" endlessly repeated really did start to annoy. Perhaps it's a cultural difference, and I know that, being British, I'm not the target audience, and some of the little differences between an English high school and an American one started to grate as well; for example, Hannah skips about five of her classes. On the first day. Can you really do that in America? Because in my old high school, you'd have been hauled into somebody's office by then. Plus, there would be no alcoves to have clandestine meetings in, and it would be incredibly unlikely to meet the one person you where trying to avoid whilst lessons where going on, near one such alcove. Yes, these are minor things, and possibly entirely due to the aforementioned living on this side of the Atlantic. But it's these details that make books feel real, and genuine, and they're never more important than in a romance, where the reader expects to be seduced by the possibility that this might happen, especially when the characters aren't feeling too believable either.

The plot, I don't have a problem with. I'm not going to get preachy about the morals of it; that doesn't bother me. I'm not pretending that I need a YA romance novel that's monogamous. However, personally, I felt that the flicking between the first day of summer, and the first day of senior year didn't work. It removed all of the tension and suspense that could have been redeeming feature of the book; instead, I was told what was going to happen. And then it did.

Overall, this was clearly not my book. That doesn't mean it couldn't be yours, and by all means, don't let me put you off. But if you're a YA author reading this, I'm trying to make an important point about readers of YA literature, that young does not equal stupid. Love your characters; challenge stereotypes.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Jordyn (new) - added it

Jordyn Having gone to an American high school (more than one, actually), I can say for sure that skipping classes the first day of school is NOT a good idea. At my schools I would have been given detention at least and suspended or had grades dropped at worst, especially if I kept it up.

Megan At my (American) high school, you could get suspended for skipping class. You might be able to get away with skipping one class on the first day of school, but that's about it.

message 3: by JD (new) - rated it 1 star

JD Switz It's not an American vs English thing. This author just does really good at writing horrifically stupid characters. You're right; there was no emotion in this book at all. We, the audience, already knew what happened. So why did the author feel the need to go back in the past and introduce characters that don't even hold a candle to the plot of the story. All I wanted to hear about was this thing with Noah. Not Lacey, not visiting Ava, not all these other characters that really had nothing to do with the plot line itself.

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