This is one of those books E has been begging me to read for a while now: The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I’ll tell you the honest reason why you should read it, because they’re filming the movie right now and the cast list is AMAZING. Observe: Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd, and Mae Whitman. That’s some of my favorite actors right there. But also? The book is probably something all parents of teenagers should read. If you have had a teenager in the last 10+ years or so, they’ve probably read it. I get the impression it went through phases around here of being THE BOOK THAT EVERYONE IN HIGH SCHOOL IS READING RIGHT NOW…so if you have a teenager who reads? They’ve probably read it.
I really like the story and the characters. My only complaint is that it’s written in a “Dear Person, ” format. I have a hard time with gimmicky author tricks like that. Chronological jumps, weird author voices, (Loved The Art Of Racing In the Rain, hated it was told from the perspective of the dog.) or strange narrative formats. I just want to read a story. So the gimmicks get to me, this book was no exception. I am not even sure I would have stuck with it if it wasn’t so important to E that I do so. I also had another complaint, but I’m not sure it mattered and it could spoil the story for you, so I’ll keep it for myself. DEFINITELY read it if your kid has ever read it, and DEFINITELY read it if you like character-driven stories (not plot- or action-driven) that may err on the darker side of the teenage existence. Otherwise? Just wait for the movie.
Oh, MAN. This book is SOOOO GOOD. If you loved Hunger Games you will want to have Dystopian Babies with Divergent. I think the lead character, Tris, could totally kick Katniss’s ASS. I loved her so much more than Katniss and I have a few theories why, but I’m going to reserve those until I read it again. It’s definitely a Dystopian Young Adult, and if you’re sick of those (like I was) you should still read it. IT’S THAT GOOD. Let me tell you why it seemed different, because it allows females to be badasses physically, without every questioning whether they should be in that role. It’s just the way it is. Girls can kick ass too. The end. No discussions, no references to dissent of opinions, not even an attempt to keep girls from fighting boys. OF COURSE THEY FIGHT BOYS. I loved it. And I pink-puffy-heart love Tris too. Even if she could kick my ass.
The thing I don’t love is it looks like it’s part of a Trilogy. Which, I don’t mind series books in theory, but this tendency towards them all being TRILOGIES now makes me a little irritated. If you’re going to do a series, can you make it NOT three books long? I don’t know why this is bugging me but it is. And I’m a bit sick of the cliffhangers too. This one wasn’t awful, you know where the book is going next, but it’s still you left wondering…WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE COMING OUT? And I get frustrated with that. The Harry Potter books only left you “hanging” towards the end of the series. Before that, you wanted the next book, because you wanted the story, but each book had an ending. I get frustrated with the trend to end these series book in a way that makes you growl a little bit. I DO NOT LIKE GROWLING. But, this one wasn’t the worse offender I’ve ever seen, so I’m not going to mark too much against it.
If you’re sick of Dystopian YA books? DON’T READ THIS ONE. It will probably make you roll your eyes. But, if you’re not sick of it and looking from more in the genre (which is how I was after having taken a break for awhile) this is an interesting twist. Basically? Someone decided X amount of years ago that the problems in the world were caused by LOVE. So, they figured out how to do a procedure on kids when they turn 18 to keep them from ever feeling it. That’s the society depicted in this book. It’s totally interesting the way they handle emotions in such a scientific and pragmatic manner. It’s also (of course) about revolt, which I love about Dystopian fictions. There’s always some faction of society that doesn’t agree with the new world order, which is what pulls me to these books in the first place.
HOWEVER…it does have that element of cheesiness you would expect in a book that basically is fighting for the right to love. Which is why – if you’re already a little sick of the Dystopian thing – you should probably avoid this one. BUT — if you’re on a kick like I was? It may be right up your alley!
SO, have YOU read any good books lately?