Review by: Lauren
Copy from Publisher, But All Opinions are Mine
Meet Jay Baker . . . or, as he is not-so-affectionately called by his opponent in the freshman-class presidential election--no comment.
A few random bullet points about Jay:
A few random bullet points about Jay:
- He is stupidly in love with his best friend, cheerleading dynamo Cameo "Appearance" Parnell.
- He is also trying to score (points) with earthbound tennis-playing goddess Caroline Richardson.
- He is fighting a losing battle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- He rocks a touché array of pop-culture references, jokes, and puns.
- His family life cookie is about to crumble.
Root for Jay as he exchanges ego-blows with his mortal enemy, gets awkward around his dream girl(s), loses his marbles in a Bermudian love triangle, watches his parents' relationship implode, and, finally, learns to keep it real and be himself(ish).
Review: First off, I should say that not only is this book out now...but it came out yesterday, so hey, I'm only a day late on this review! In case you didn't notice...the main character's name is Jay Baker while the author is Jay Clark. I'm going to hazard a guess and say that this book was based in some part on the author's life. I don't know this for sure though, so don't go and quote me.
One of the main-ish characters in this book is a teacher, Ms. Lambert. She's an oddball of a person and definitely not your typical teacher, but she seems to always be there for Jay however she can. That's one thing I enjoyed about the book...adults are present and have their own storylines/problems. Ms. Lambert is usually just trying to keep Jay from being suspended, but Jay's parents definitely have their fair share of book time. I don't want to go too into it so I don't ruin anything for future readers of the books...but I really liked that it showed that even adults aren't perfect. They mess up too.
Jay's sister, Abby, is what you would call the Queen Bee of their high school. So while is Jay is super awkward, Abby is the cool one. She's still pretty close to her brother though, which I enjoyed. They are connected, and when things start to go crazy in their family, they lean on each other...in their own way.
Another aspect of the book that was fun to read was the blog. Yes, Jay has a blog. Well, I guess I should say that he GETS a blog, since it's not present through the entire book. I wish it was there more, but it comes about for a reason...so it makes sense.
In the end, this is a fun read. I thought some of the "issues" of the book were wrapped up a little too nicely to be believable, but the fact that it deals nicely with parental issues, bullying, relationships of all sorts, and more...I'd say it's worth it. Plus, Jay is a fun narrator. You can't help but love him. Maybe not all the time, but by the end of the day, you'll be rooting for him to win.
Now, the one other thing I want to mention that I wasn't a huge fan of was all the use of "gay." Jay is called gay and all sorts of other things by a kid named Mike. This is one of those things that does get an explanation in the end, which I liked. It kind of sucks to have a bully that seems to do so for no reason at all....not that Jay doesn't try and "bully" back just as much, to stick up for himself. At any rate, it's hard to tell if Mike really is homophobic or if he just uses the idea of Jay being gay as an easy insult. Jay isn't, but it shouldn't matter. I suppose it works okay in the context of the book but it is one of those things that kind of bugged me at times, so I figured I'd mention it.
Finally, the cover! This is the first time I've seen the final cover and I really like it. Definitely stands out more than the ARC cover I have. That tag line is hilarious too: You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll feel awkward by association. I didn't cry, but the other two sound just about right!!