Charlie, a senior, isn’t looking forward to her last year of high school. Another year of living in the shadow of her best friend, Lila. Another year of hiding behind the covers of her favorite novels. Another year of navigating her tense relationship with her perfectionist mom.
But everything changes when she meets her new English teacher. Mr. Drummond is smart. Irreverent. Funny. Hot. Everyone loves him. And Charlie thinks he’s the only one who gets her.
She also thinks she might not be the only one with a crush.
In this stunning debut, Jessica Alcott explores relationships-and their boundaries-in a way that is both searingly honest and sympathetic. (from Goodreads)
I really struggled with this book. This really wasn’t what I had expected after reading the Goodreads summary and the prologue at the beginning of the book. The plot went in a different direction to what I had expected and I didn’t understand the message of the book, which was probably why I didn’t connect with it. Although I did finish the book, I didn’t understand the point of it and I didn’t like the way the story panned out. A re-read of the book might allow me to understand the message a bit more but I definitely didn’t enjoy it enough to read it a second time. Another thing that added to my frustration, was the fact that I had received a library edition of the book from Book Depository (nothing to do with the book or the story and more to do with the description on Book Depository)…but for the price that I paid for it, I expected a proper hardcover with a jacket, and not a library edition. (The one I’ve linked above should be a proper hardcover edition).
I thought the writing in this book was unnecessarily detailed in parts and included lots of information and descriptions that weren’t crucial to the plot. This book is split into sections, one section for each month of the year. I would have preferred a book that had really focused on the important, life-changing events/revelations, rather than giving a general overview of what happened in Charlie’s life each month. We were given little snapshots into different aspects of her life but nothing was explored very deeply. We see briefly into her relationships with her friends and her family but I never got a true sense that any of these relationships had developed by the end of the book. There were issues between Charlie and her parents and Charlie and her friends that I don’t feel were resolved at all.
I also didn’t like any of the characters in the book, especially Charlie. I didn’t enjoy reading from her perspective. From the very first page, I thought she was too broody and self-deprecating. I really couldn’t stand her and I never warmed up to her. I liked Drummond a little bit better but I never got a sense of who he was. I didn’t like the infatuation/romance between Charlie and Drummond. There were also some inconsistencies in the characters, for me. For example, Lila is portrayed, at times, as a loud-mouth, dumb blonde, popular girl who enjoys acting like a bit of a slut. At other times, she’s portrayed as a super smart, potential Stanford student who has never had sex before. These inconsistencies made it difficult for me to follow and enjoy the book.
I did like the way the book ended. I thought it ended on a really hopeful note. But other than that, I didn’t connect with the book or enjoy reading it at all.