Sunday, January 22, 2012

Future Release Review: My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan by Seth Rudetsky

Title: My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan
Author: Seth Rudetsky site
Format: Ebook, 220 pages
Release Date: 1/24/2012
Publisher: Random House BYR
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Ebook Reading Challenge (hosted by Workaday Reads), Standalone Reading Challenge (hosted by Icey Books), and the Completely Contemp Challenge (hosted by Chick Loves Lit)

Justin has two goals for sophomore year: to date Chuck, the hottest boy in school, and to become the king of Cool U, the table in the cafeteria where the "in" crowd sits. 

Unfortunately, he has the wrong look (short, plump, Brillo-pad curls), he has the wrong interests (Broadway, chorus violin), and he has the wrong friends (Spencer, into Eastern religions, and Mary Ann (who doesn't shave her armpits). And Chuck? Well, he's not gay; he's dating Becky, a girl in chorus with whom Justin is friendly.

But Justin is determined.

In detention one day (because he saw Chuck get it first), Justin comes up with a perfect plan: to allow Becky to continue dating Chuck, whom Becky's dad hates. They will pretend that Becky is dating Justin, whom Becky's dad loves. And when Becky and Justin go out on a fake date, Chuck will meet up with them for a real date with Becky. Chuck's bound to find Justin irresistible, right? What could go wrong?

The main character and narrator, Justin, is portrayed as the lovable yet totally clueless underdog of the high school hierarchy. The guy that would unfortunately never fit in socially at the top, but whose goal is to be popular. Justin’s superficial-ness is balanced out by his all knowing best friend Spencer, who is also gay and the only person Justin has ever come out to. Becky is the ever so sweet girl who is unfortunately in the way, being girlfriend to Justin’s desire Chuck. Chuck is the guy of Justin’s dreams. He’s model gorgeous and the quarterback of the football team, but of course everyone but Justin can tell that they wouldn’t be a match made in heaven.

The plot of this book left a lot to be desired. Things progressed exactly as they appeared early on in the story, **KIND OF A SPOILER ALERT** (Highlight section to read) Boy is at the bottom of the high school food chain and just wants to be popular, by some coincidence he comes up with a scheme to be popular (and get the guy of his dreams), the boy’s plans fail but finds the silver lining (the actually perfect guy that was in front of him the whole time), boy learns life lesson and lives happily ever after, the end. ** There’s no doubt that the plot is clich├ęd, I just wish that the author would have put some kind of a unique spin on it.

Writing Style:
The narrative is Justin reiterating the more major events of his sophomore year very soon after the fact, almost like sporadic journal entries.  The only thing that really bothered me about the writing was the almost constant reminder that Justin is both Jewish and gay. It was almost as though the author thought the reader would keep forgetting. I heard you the first time!

My Awesome /Awful Popularity Plan is exactly as it appears, a fluff book, plain and simple. It’s not a book that will give you a new idea to ponder, or a plot that will leave you on the edge of your seat with a million unthinkable twist and turns. . Although I would have loved a bit more originality, it’s a book that does what it’s supposed to do. It’s meant purely as a fun, and short, story that may put a smile on your face. This type of story isn’t really my cup of tea, but it wasn’t a completely disappointing change from the norm. I’m giving it 3 of 5 stars, though I probably wouldn’t reread it.

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