Monday, May 17, 2010

Another co-authored book no better than the last...

How to Be Bad
by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle

Published in May 2008 by HarperTeen
325 pgs, $17.89 (jacket price)

Two best friends and one tagalong take a roadtrip across Florida to mend damaged relationships. Their journey takes them to unbelievable and comical places, and each of them learn important lessons about courage, friendship, and love.

I'd been dying to read this book since it came out two years ago, but never got around to it. Unfortunately, it's one I could've lived without ever reading. It wasn't necessarily bad, it just wasn't really all that good, either. Road trips are so overdone in YA, and to make a novel that completely revolves around a road trip has to sparkle. This book did not sparkle.

Another book written in shifting first person narratives, each chapter narrated by a new person, and written by a new person. Each of the three narrators had their shtick - Jesse's the Jesus freak, Mel is the rich girl, and Vicks is the badass. But besides these characteristics, not much separates the girls from each other. All three of the writers use extremely similar voices and styles, making it much more boring than, say, John Green and David Levithan's latest co-authored effort.

In a similar vein, each of the narrators were so self-absorbed, the other characters hardly get a word in edgewise, making each girl more caricature-like than actual characters. I found Vicks extremely annoying, Mel tolerable, and Jesse the most relatable. One of the cool things about this book is every reader is going to feel a little bit differently about each of the characters. There's a little bit of everybody in a book written and narrated by three different people. However, even as the girls got into crazy situations, I found myself bored and un-captivated by the writing and style. Just skip this one. You've already read it before.

Plot Development - 6
Character Development - 6
Depth - 7
Voice - 4
Average Rating - 5.75

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog through Nymeth's link to your review of Just In Case. I'm surprised how many of the same books we've read (pre-blog, in my case). I agreed about this book. No sparkle. Alligators and pirate hotels do not make sparkle all by themselves. I thought the Christian girl was especially overdone. Your reviews are really concise!