Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Book Reviews: 'We Are Still Tornadoes' by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen and 'You'll Grow Out of It' by Jessi Klein

We Are Still Tornadoes, by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen:
This book fell flat on just about every level. I was intrigued because We Are Still Tornadoes sounded like the kind of cheesy YA novel that I end up loving wholeheartedly, but I think I have to start being a bit more choosy when it comes to cheesy YA. It's 1982; Scott and Cath have graduated from high school and Cath is off to college, but it doesn't look like college is in the cards for Scott; he'll just be working at his father's clothing store for the rest of his life. We Are Still Tornadoes is written entirely in letters, which usually is a good style and a style that is easy to use to your advantage, but the authors literally didn't even get that right. It was a bit hard to follow the events that were occurring in Scott and Cath's friendship, just because they were trying to write it entirely in letters. It was totally predictable from the get-go, but that's what I was expecting. I wasn't expecting some groundbreaking new YA perspective, but this was still nothing special. I've seen a lot of critics compare We Are Still Tornadoes to Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park because that book is also a YA romance that is set in the 80s and lemme just stop you right there, because these two books are nothing alike. We Are Still Tornadoes offers nothing memorable, storyline or otherwise. And by the time I finished it, I was absolutely convinced that the authors chose to set their novel in the 80s just so they could: a) be able to tell it in letters because *condescending grandpa voice* hey kids! Before texting and email, we actually sat down to write letters! Kids today know that, they're not stupid and b) reference 80s music that ranked on the Billboard Hot 100 that decade. Congratulations, you visited the Wikipedia page for 80s hit music while writing this. SO original! Please don't pick this up expecting a Rainbow Rowell meets John Green YA romance because it's just...not. 2/5 stars.

2. You'll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein:
I really enjoyed this! This is writer and comedian Jessi Klein's memoir about not conforming to ideals of femininity (traditional, modern and otherwise) and how girls don't always grow out of their tomboy phase; sometimes they become a tom man (a term she invented). It doesn't always mean they're lesbians; straight girls who were tomboys as kids can remain like that their whole life and Klein is living proof of that. You'll Grow Out of It is super funny; I found myself getting lost in her stories about breakups, being a writer, and finding the right therapist. My only complaint would be that I didn't realize this was more Klein's memoir of her life in general, rather than the memoir about not conforming to feminine ideals like the dust jacket and first chapter promise. I think her goal of telling her life story through the lens of being a "tom man" got a bit lost at times. Don't get me wrong, it was still a really enjoyable and funny memoir, but I was expecting a bit more perspective on what it's like to never grow out of that phase that every child is expected to leave behind at some point. I guess you could say all of her stories are a testament to that, but I still would've liked a bit more connection there at times. All in all an entertaining read, though. 4/5 stars.

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