Wendy's Reviews > Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before by David Yoo
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's review
Sep 06, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: young-adult
Read in September, 2011

I don't really bother summarizing plots in reviews, because a) others have already done so and b) I tend to read reviews AFTER I read the book, so I'm looking for opinions and insights rather than trying to decide whether or not to read a book. I don't even mind if the reviewer barely mentions the book, as long as I see how the book connects to whatever they're ranting about. So I write reviews for those like me.

This was one of a few YA books I've read recently that were written in the 21st century but set way back when I was a YA myself. It makes me wonder what modern teens make of them--does it feel more like historical fiction than realistic fiction? Because I know I'm getting a fair number of cultural references that I can't imagine most teenagers would get. (Like the hilariously tongue in cheek acknowledgement directed at Phil Collins.)

I'm going to be teaching high school this year after 13 years in middle school, and I have a feeling that while kids no longer listen to Phil or use pay phones, not much else has changed. Some of the painful bits in here--usually involving Albert doing something horribly stupid yet somehow understandable--are a good reminder of what it's like to be in high school. I think middle schoolers are more overtly cruel, but by high school kids have internalized the "rules" enough that they no longer need to be so obvious in how they're enforced.

A few reviewers have complained about the lack of character development. I think most of us just inch forward imperceptibly, so it doesn't bother me that these characters don't break through into entirely new people in the course of months. The other facet that is commented on is the humor, and yes, I laughed out loud, hard, in public, several times while reading this.

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