- So, Khanh, what did you think of this book?
- I'll tell you what I think, after I brush my hair. Did you guys know the average human loses anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs a day?
- No, I didn't know that, but it's irrelevant. I'm asking you now, what did you think of this book?
- Well, there are many important facts to take into consideration when I rate a book. For example, I have to look at the characters. I have to think about the plot, and the setting. For example, if it's a dy---
- KHANH! WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE FUCKING BOOK? ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION.
- Well, my opinion of the book may vary, depending on my moo---
- GIVE. ME. A. FUCKING. ANSWER.
- Oh, I'm sorry. Was I supposed to give a straight answer without going off topic or going off on stupid tangents? Why should I, when this fucking book keeps dancing around the answer and using a million various types of delaying tactics instead of giving ME a straight answer. You know what happens when someone doesn't give me an answer to something in real life? I go fucking ask someone else. I go pursue something until someone tells me what the fuck is going on. Chloe's detection and questioning is limited to two people, who, despite claiming to be her ally, doesn't tell her a fucking thing, and to further add to my frustration, Chloe doesn't fucking ask anyone else. There are a ton of people in school. GO FUCKING ASK AROUND.
It is not detection when the main detective is an idiot who can't get her fucking head on straight and get a fucking clue already, instead choosing to focus on her inexplicable feelings about a baaaaaaaaaad, traaaaagic boooooooooy. Actually, two. Both of whom are textbook clichéd. The gorgeous, golden boy whom every girl in school adores. The tragic, too-beautiful-to-be-true juvenile delinquent with a heart of pure fucking gold. While we're going on tangents, let me just go make some cookies, since we have two such cookie-cutter characters on hand.
There is a horrifying lack of credibility in this book. YA novels have an uphill climb in general, when it comes to a teenager or teenagers unsolving mysteries. It further stretches the boundaries of belief when the main character lacks rationality and the plot and elements involved within the book doesn't lend itself to credibility as well.
Summary: The copywriter who wrote this book's summary doesn't seem to have read it very closely. Chloe is a junior in high school; when we meet her, it is in May, and she's trying to not flunk her classes in the last few weeks of school. She has poor impulse controls, and is prone to acting out in a self-sabotaging manner, for example, pulling a fire alarm in a sadly misguided attempt to spare her best friend from a moment of embarrassment. Chloe is a poor student with high aspirations; she wants to get a Ph.D in psychology one day, which is a pretty lofty dream since Chloe can barely read a page of her textbook without falling asleep. Which she does, in study hall. When Chloe reawakens, it is November, and she cannot remember anything that has happened, but one thing is clear: her life (and it is her life, not an alternate universe or a parallel universe) is drastically changed.
Chloe is now a senior in high school, she has already taken the SATs, receiving a tremendously high score of 2155. While by no means on track to becoming valedictorian and being courted by Ivy Leagues, like the summary suggested, Chloe is doing significantly better in school this year, with a 3.90 GPA. She is also apparently a model student, the ideal daughter, the ideal girlfriend, too, which is a surprise, since Chloe didn't have one six months ago. Her best friend, Maggie, is no longer talking to her, and she is suddenly one of the most popular girls in school.
Her new boyfriend is Blake Tanner, the golden boy in school, the brilliant jock, the volunteer, the boy every parent want their daughter to date. Chloe should be happy, but she is inexplicably attracted to the school's juvenile semi-juvenile delinquent bad boy, who is a brilliant genius despite his cold, brooding exterior.
Are you guys gagging yet?
Chloe doesn't know what happened in the past 6 months, but she's determined to find out. She pursues clues from out of fucking nowhere, while fighting against her inexplicable feelings of attraction for the bad boy who keeps pushing her away. Will Chloe ever stop throwing herself at Adam long enough to find out the truth?
The Plot: A fucking mess. Chloe spends half the time deliberating about her feeeeeeeeeelings towards the boy she shouldn't be looking at, much less crushing on, while she's dating the most wanted boy in school. In between her emotions, Chloe finds the time and bumps fuck-as-all-hell randomly into clues that might help her solve the fucking mystery. Along the way, nobody, and I mean fucking NOBODY gives her a fucking straight answer, and Chloe doesn't seem very persistent in getting a straight answer from anyone either.
Clues? What fucking clues. Out of fucking nowhere, her friend mentions the name "Julien" and all of a sudden, Chloe decides THIS IS IT. JULIEN IS THE KEY TO SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF MY AMNESIA. I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO GO FIND HER. And conveniently, her former best just happens to be taking a trip to Southern California, where Julien now lives, off we go to San Diego! BAM! Can you say deus ex machina Yes. Deus ex fucking machina. Because instincts, feelings, feeeeeeeeeelings, are essential to solving a mystery. Not facts. Never facts.
Chloe is trying to solve her amnesia and nobody fucking gives her an answer. This book would have been 200 pages shorter if Chloe had actually been persistent in getting people to fucking talk. Chloe seems to think that only two people in the world are capable of giving her an answer of what happened within the past 6 months: her former best friend, Maggie, and her shouldn't-be-crushing-on-him-because-she's-already-got-a-bf secret love, Adam. I wanted to strangle them all, Maggie and Adam for beating around the fucking bush, and Chloe, for being one of the dumbest, least persistent detectives to ever grace an YA novel.
So it goes pretty much like this for the entire book:
Chloe: I don't remember what happened, guys ;_; I've got amnesia and I don't know what happened the previous 6 months of my life. Can you guys tell me please?????
Maggie: I HATE YOU AND I DON'T WANT TO TALK TO YOU EVEN IF YOU CLAIM NOT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. Ok, fine, I trust you and we're friends again, but I just don't wanna talk about it, ok? The events that I keep bringing up are so mysterious that I don't want to give you details!!! You were so mean to me! SO MEAN. I told you what would happen. I'm going to be mysterious and vague like that because we're such good besties.
Chloe: @______@ Adam? Please, honey sweetie pumpkin boo pie?
Adam: *smirks* I don't know. Maybe. It's not that important. I mean, I know you're hurting and all, but I am, too. You should remember what happened, because it involved US. And am I that unimportant to you? Go away now. No! Don't! Come back! I like you, a lot. But I'm still not gonna tell you a fucking thing. Let's gaze into each other's eyes.
Chloe: But...my memorie---oh, sure, babe ^_______^ God, you are so tragically beautiful.
The Premise: When dealing with a contemporary YA setting, situations and events have to feel real, particularly when the premise revolves around a mystery. A plot involving a teenaged character playing detective is hard enough to swallow without me constantly scratching my head thinking about the inconsistencies and inaccurate-seeming details within the book. I am a very critical reader; others may overlook such minor details. I do not.
For example, if there's one thing all high school seniors know, it is the fact that crap grades for the previous 3 years will not get you anywhere NEAR a fucking Ivy League-grade school, even taking into consideration a high comprehensive test score. After "awakening" in November, Chloe has supposedly been courted by some very excellent schools, thanks to her excellent performance in school for the past 6 months, despite a previously crappy high school transcript.
Are you fucking kidding me? For one thing, honey, it was SUMMER for 3 months. You've only been in school THIS year for 3 months, if that. That is NOT enough time to get your fucking GPA up to 3.9, considering in November, your grade reports for the autumn quarter hasn't even come out yet. For another thing, if you were to submit your transcript to a college for approval, it will NOT have shown your very recent excellent performance, just all the crap you've been doing for the past 3 years. Nice try, book, but no deal. I don't buy the Chloe-turned-into-a-perfect-pretty-princess-in-6-month-with-the-ideal-life one bit.
Yeah. Details. Sigh.