Sunday, 11 July 2010

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before by David Yoo

Warning: I rant a little in this one. And it does contain spoilers in the middle, which are marked before hand and at the end of them.

"Miracles happen, even for dark horses like Albert Kim. Stunningly, the most unattainable girl at Bern High like him, and may turn in to his actual girlfriend. But the fates have a zeal for irony..."

Social outcast Albert Kim is an American born Asian, with strict Asian parents who are all about his grades and his future. But by a bit of luck he gets to spend his summer working instead of as some summer school camp thing. There he finds himself working alongside the schools hottest girl, Mia. Who just happens to have recently split with her long term boyfriend, the most popular jock, Ryan. They spend the summer working together and it's good, he can tell they'll be 'something'. But then school starts again and things get complicated. And then disaster strikes. Ryan is diagnosed with cancer. After that, all bets are off as to what happens.

I was looking for a break from fantasy books for a bit and this was one of 3 I randomly decided to get. I kind of which I hadn't bothered with this one though. it's told in first person from Albert's POV and the guy is...odd. Socially awkward teens I get, but I just couldn't get on with Albert. The book has several quotes on it stating it as 'hilarious' and 'witty', maybe my sense of humor is warped, but I found very little funny. There was the odd moment that was, but most of the 'jokes' were painfully delivered and just didn't hit the mark for me. It's a little oddly paced, jumping around back and forth a bit, and I struggled to get in to it for any length of time. It was certainly different, with the ex getting cancer and Mia being torn between the two. Not to mention just how friendless and strange Albert is.

Spoilers ahead...

My biggest problems with this book though? Albert and Mia were pretty much unlikable through most of the book. Albert isn't just an outcast, he's a very strange guy with serious issues. Instead of admitting any problems with Ryan, or Mia, or just walking away when he should, he gets crazy and nasty, and very unlikable for it. He's none too smart when it comes to Mia clearly not being over Ryan and clearly treating him as a rebound. And when it goes badly? He ends up spying on Mia with a telescope. Stalker psycho much? Mia. Drove me up the wall. I get her being upset about her and Ryan, even though she pulled the plug, I get the rebound impulse with Albert. I do not get her not seeing that she was being a complete bitch to Albert when Ryan was sick. And even before that, how she was unwilling to really admit to being anything with Albert or how she really didn't seem to notice his feelings about anything in anyway. She was nice as could be trying to help Ryan through his cancer and everything, but she noticed nothing about the guy she's 'something' with now? I tired of her really quickly.

Another problem I had was how the entire town turned in to this cult to support Ryan. Aside from Albert thinking they were being over zealous, only one other person at the school thought so too, and he was someone who kept sort of being Albert's friend. Even the younger kids next door attacked Albert when they realised it was Ryan he was mad at. It was just...crazy. Like no one had any common sense any more. I completely understand getting behind someone who has cancer to support him/her, but this was just completely over the top.

/rant. (and spoilers).

The book did have a few okay moments, it wasn't a total disaster for me. But it wasn't something I enjoyed much at all. The ending was okay, if predictable like the rest of the book, but it did nothing to make me like any of the characters any more. Aside from Albert, who was mostly strange verging on psycho, most of the characters were pretty flat with little to them and emotions flipping from one thing to another with little reason. Definitely not a fan of this book and I doubt I'd pick up anything else by the author. A shame really, because it's got the premise to be a reasonable book. But I'd recommend to not bother with this one. 3/10

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