Two Minute Review: Whatever by S.J. Goslee

Monday, August 22, 2016
Title: Whatever.: or how junior year became totally f$@ked
Author: S.J. Goslee
Genres: Contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 272
Published: Ausust 2nd, 2016
Source: ARC via Publisher
Rating: 3 out of 5

Hilarity ensues when a slacker teen boy discovers he's gay, in this unforgettably funny YA debut.

Mike Tate is a normal dude. He and his friends have a crappy band (an excuse to drink cheap beer and rock out to the Lemonheads) and hang out in parking lots doing stupid board tricks. But when Mike's girlfriend Lisa, who knows him better than he does, breaks up with him, he realizes he's about to have a major epiphany that will blow his mind. And worse--he gets elected to homecoming court.

It's like the apocalypse came, only instead of nuclear bombs and zombies, Mike gets school participation, gay thoughts, and mother-effin' cheerleaders.

With the free spirit of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the raw voice of Winger, and characters reminiscent of Freaks & Geeks, this debut YA offers a standout voice and a fresh, modern take on the coming-out story.

I hate the writing of Whatever. The third-person present is distracting and confusing to read. It makes no sense why it's not written in first-person, especially since the writing is so "voice-y" you might as well be in Mike's head anyway. I found the character and writing to be kind of alienating, the use of only last names, even for siblings, the sports, the constant thoughts of attractive men and women lent themselves to a very stereotypically masculine book that I couldn't relate to, even while dealing with LGBT subject matter. I actually think the juxtaposition could work for teen boys, but coming at it as an adult woman, it wasn't for me.

I have no real issues with the plot, though it takes far too long to get moving. I do have issues with the Thanksgiving scene. Mike, struggling with being bi or maybe just gay, is confronted by his grandmother, whom Mike's mom has outed him to. She proceeds to uncomfortably grill him about his relationship options and insinuate that being gay is a choice before outing him to the entire family. Mike's upset for a hot second. His mother's overstepping is never mentioned, despite being just as inappropriate. The scene's not really played for laughs, but it definitely has a light tone meant to evoke that Grandma means well and really it could have been worse! No. Bad book. No cookie.

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