Thursday, April 28, 2011

Of All The Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz + Contest!

Published December 22, 2009.

When a rumor starts circulating that Tara's boyfriend Brent has been sleeping with one of the guy cheerleaders, the innuendo doesn't just hurt Tara. It marks the beginning of the end for an inseparable trio of friends. Tara's training for a marathon, but also running from her fear of abandonment after being deserted by her father. Whitney Blaire seems to have everything, but an empty mansion and absentee parents leave this beauty to look for meaning in all the wrong places. And Pinkie has a compulsive need to mother everyone to make up for the mom she's never stopped missing. This friendship that promised to last forever is starting to break under the pressure of the girls' differences.

And then new-girl Riley arrives in school with her long black hair, athletic body, and her blasé attitude, and suddenly Tara starts to feel things she's never felt before for a girl—and to reassess her feelings about Brent and what he may/may not have done. Is Tara gay—or does she just love Riley? And can her deepest friendships survive when all of the rules have changed?

Loved it. I was hooked pretty much immediately. The book starts right at that moment when Tara finds out about Brent and it just keeps peddling from there. You watch as this once immovable friendship starts to crack and each of the three girls is chipping away at the glass, eroding its integrity. They all have the best of intentions but you know what road those are paved with. So those best intentions are the collection of hammers that ends up shattering the glass. But, in the end, at least someone's there that's willing to attempt to glue the pieces back together.

Tara I liked pretty much all the way through the story. I can't imagine what it would be like to hear a rumor that my boyfriend had cheated on me with another guy. Personally I expected to see a lot more self-doubt. You know, the kind of thoughts that go "did I turn him gay?" or others like it. It seems to be a natural reaction but Tara didn't have that. Instead she ran away, literally and figuratively. She ran until it hurt, she ran away from her friends and she ran to someone new and fresh that gave her a new lease on life. Someone else that she could relate to on a bunch of different levels. I liked Tara the most really because I thought she was the best character. I found her the most relatable and her story the most compelling.

Whitney (sorry, I refuse to call her by her full name, far too annoying), I didn't like her drama. Plus I thought she was too typical. The spoiled rich girl that gets everything she wants but what she really wants/needs are parents that love her. I was over it. I've been over it. While her drama to sabotage Riley kept me turning the pages rather quickly, I just didn't like her type. Her mould, I guess is what it would be. Her character was okay but she was a little too typical for me.

Pinkie got to a point where I just couldn't stand her. Overbearing, mothering, constantly apologizing. I can't stand those people. Spineless, weak-willed individuals that I want to just scream at. I will say, though, she did come around in the end. There is a redemption for Pinkie so if you find people/characters like this equally as grating, just wait it out. She gets a reprieve. She breaks the stranglehold she has on herself and realizes the type of person she is. Those types of people I love, even if they're new to it: self-realization. They have the ability to look at themselves from the outside and fix their shit. Pinkie gets there. Eventually.

Riley's just kind of there so I'm neither here nor there about her but her presence is what propels the plot. Riley really did shake up the threesome Tara, Whitney and Pinkie had. Without her, Tara would have just ran back to her friends like normal. Running to Riley was the catalyst of everyone's issues. Whitney's scheming rolls back to Riley. And because neither Tara nor Whitney are around, Pinkie is forced to stand on her own, something that she desperately needed.

I wanted something light and I definitely got it. It touches upon some pretty major issues but in a light way. Yeah, they can be major. But they don't have to be. Not everyone is going to throw feces at the fan when they get a wrench in their spokes. Some just brush themselves off and keep going. I'm glad this book didn't dive too deeply into what could have been some steep issues. It kept it light. Does that make it disingenuous? I don't necessarily think so. It just resolves the issues in a non-major way, since I'm sure that can be called realistic for some people. It had its dramarama moments, its blowout fights and its life-changing epiphanies. And I couldn't get enough of them. I swallowed them up and then greedily wanted more.

Yeah, it's a light read but it touches on subjects that a lot of teens are going through so I don't think it should be brushed aside as fanciful simply because it doesn't make you want to slit your wrists by the time you've finished reading it. It's a quick read but you'll remember a lot; about how the characters felt, how you felt reading them. I know they elicited some emotions in me. At work, of course. So if you're looking for something light, it's good for that. If you're looking for something realistic, it's good for that too. It's just an all around good book.

Contest Time!!!

Want my hardcover? All you have to do is fill out the form below for your chance to win. Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only. One entry per person per email address. Duplicate entries will be deleted. Contest ends May 19th at midnight, EST.

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