Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2011)
Buy the Book: Amazon
High school junior Nick Brandt is intent on getting a girlfriend, and Eden Reiss is the one that he wants. He has exactly four semesters to get the girl, but when the phone rings on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday night, life for Nick and his parents will never be the same. What had been a seemingly idyllic home life has become something else entirely. But with this shake-up comes a newfound confidence for Nick; he's become a bolder version of himself, no longer afraid to question his parents, and no longer afraid to talk to Eden.
Let me first start off by saying that, this is not my kind of book. If I hadn't been doing this for a book tour, I never would have finished it. It's not that the writing was bad, or boring, or anything like that, it was actually pretty good. It's just that I don't care for books with this amount of profanity and sexual content/dialog/innuendo, often very crude. I understand that this is told from a guy's point of view, and I know that it is being "realistic," but I just don't have any desire to read about a guy looking up girls' skirts or at their breasts, making sexual jokes, etc. That's just not what I prefer to read. But I'm a girl....so....I guess that makes sense?
The biggest problem I had with this book, however, was this internal dialog from the main character, Nick, after finding out his dad had a son he had given up for adoption:
Maybe they weren't allowed to have sex ed at the public high school in Troy where Dad went. We all have sex ed, we all know we're supposed to use condoms, and any of the girls I know--I think they would all know what to do, early on (meaning abortion). I almost asked why Sarah didn't do that, but then I thought I have no idea what the abortion laws are in Ohio now, let alone--I do the math--twenty-nine years ago.
I actually had to read that twice to make sure I read it correctly. Now I know that people have different views on abortion, but when I read this I was furious. As many of you who are regulars here know, I had a baby when I was a teenager. And for someone to say that the right/smart/obvious thing to do, would have been for me to get an abortion, and that I was basically stupid/backwoods/uneducated/whatever because I didn't, seriously makes me angry. All I could think was that I was so glad I was reading this and not my daughter. I would NEVER want her to feel like keeping her was some kind of stupid mistake. And after reading that, how could she not?
I was so mad after reading this, that I had a really hard time getting over it, and getting into the story. However, after taking a break, and processing it, I'm wondering if I'm wrong. I have a tendency to think that the opinions of a character are the opinions of the author. And I know this isn't always right. And as the book goes on, Nick does do a lot of reflecting on his arrogant viewpoints, changing his mind (though never actually dealing with this statement). So, maybe this was just a stupid thing he thought, and the author was showing how close-minded he was, and how this life-altering experience has changed him. I hope that is the case.
As for the rest of the story, after getting over all that....it was actually really good. I enjoyed the romance between Nick and Eden. They were ridiculously sweet together. I especially liked Nick's dad and Stevie, Nick's best friend. I thought they were really fantastic characters, and they were beyond patient with Nick as he tried to figure out what this all meant for him and his relationships. The ending of the book, was really well done. I was so happy with the way everything was concluded.
So, would I recommend this book? Well, I guess if you are better at separating characters from the author (or if that statement doesn't bother you), and if you don't mind the heavy profanity and sexual content, and are a fan of contemporary YA fiction, you will probably really like this book.