Overall I enjoyed this book, but sections of it were a bit hit or miss for me. I didn’t really know anything going into this and it made for a pleasant surprise. Essentially it’s a collection of poetry/verse/short stories about teenagers in love. I’ve read Everyday by this author and found it to be quite interesting and strange, but insightful and I also read Will Grayson, Will Grayson which is coauthored by John Green. That was hands down one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, but this wasn’t really like it at all.
The stories are grouped together by fours, but many of the characters are interconnected across the book and it becomes a very soap opera like experience. Most of the stories worked for me, but my biggest complaint about this book is that there wasn’t a chart or guide as to who’s who. I feel like I lost a lot of the meaning and nuance simply because there were too many people to keep track of. I often had the feeling of, oh I know this person, but I couldn’t place which story they were from and it became made connecting with the characters difficult.
That being said several of the stories really touched me. I definitely related to many of the characters even though they were all quite different than I am now, or how I was in high school. The issues facing these kids runs the gamut from eating disorders to drug use, sex, homosexuality, and school shootings. And they all tie in with love/romance/relationships.
One of the things I liked most about this book is that because each character has their own way of speaking and relating to the other characters, some stories read like fiction. Others are song lyrics written by the character, some are flash fiction-esque from the character’s perspective. Some characters use punctuation, some don’t, some have words which slide down the page, others write in caps lock and pen. It’s a really bizarre assortment of writing styles and it gave a lot of flavor to what could have been an over done topic.
This is definitely worth the read, and I see myself pulling it off the shelf again just to review the stories that touched me. But I doubt that I’ll read it all the way through again unless I can find a chart online to connect the characters from the various stories. Honestly the only reason I’m giving this a 3 instead of a 4 is because I need a chart.