Saturday 16 April 2016

Review: Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman


Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she's done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There's only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally's best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He'd do anything for Sal--even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she's "more than pretty," and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally's been in love with Becks all her life--and he's completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

Adorkable is just as the name suggests. It is full of all the things that make a YA contemporary fun to read and had the added bonus of one of my favourite tropes. The friends to lovers plot. I’m a sucker for well written relationships between two people that becomes more and Adorkable had this is spades. Sally and Becks are great together and it wasn’t hard to see them as a couple even when they were meant to be just friends. They spent time together, had a believable history and knew each other’s favourite things. There was an easy friendship built upon years of familiarity and I was glad that it wasn’t just one of those things where the two characters suddenly realised the other was hot and were in love. I went into this one fully prepared for it to be light and fun and I got what I wanted. If there was one thing I thought would improve Adorkable it would probably be the characterisation of Sally’s best friend and to a greater extent the female population of Chariot High School. But more about that later.
                I think for me what really made this novel was Sally. She was sweet but not naive and snarky but not nasty. I really enjoyed her love of everything fandom related and was glad that O’Gorman chose to add specific references to the films and books that Sally worshipped. Too often a main character is meant to be a geek but that isn’t shown in how they behave or the things they enjoy. It was also refreshing to see a character who wasn’t apologetic about her geekery and wasn’t teased mercilessly for it. Sure Sally wasn’t the most popular girl but she had her friends and her social projects and they made her happy. The only thing I found a little frustrating about Sally was that she was perhaps a little too clueless about some of the things that were happening even when they were blatantly obvious.
                Becks was very sweet and if anything probably unrealistically perfect. But hey, this is YA and we’re not here for your average teenage boys are we?  What I liked most was that Becks had his own drive and motivations. His defining characteristic wasn’t that he existed to be Sally’s love interest. He had his own passions and he pursued them. Sure he makes compromises to be with Sally but they don’t change the nature of his dreams.
                Then we have Ash. *Please look away now if you don’t want any spoilers because the fact that I’m talking about him might be a spoiler in itself* I want to start off by saying that I think Sally and Becks should be together. They’ve got a fantastic connection and their affection for each other was palpable. But my God Ash. I can’t even begin to articulate how much I loved him and I usually want to kill love triangles with fire. Were it not for Becks, Sally and Ash would have made an incredible hatred leading to love story. For me he had the most character development throughout the whole novel and I adored that he thought Sally was strange but was still attracted to her. I know that was meant to be a strike against him but you don’t have to love everything about another person to be attracted to them. Who wouldn’t love a boy who works at the school newspaper, plays soccer like a pro, speaks fluent German and has the confidence to put himself out on a limb knowing that he’s at a disadvantage from the start? * End Spoiler. Please, please, please Cookie O’Gorman if you haven’t already thought about writing a spin off involving Ash could you please do so? Post haste?
                So I mentioned Hooker earlier and I don’t want to go on about it too much because she had her great points as well. Hooker’s heart was in the right place and she was loyal, confident and funny but I just couldn’t bring myself to approve of the way she doggedly set Sally up on random blind dates. I know it was essential to the setup of the novel but she was so pushy and to make matters worse she kept trying to throw her own castoffs at Sally and expected Sally to jump at the chance. I would have liked for Hooker’s motivations to be deeper than simply that Sally was seventeen and had never had a proper boyfriend. It concerned me that so much importance was placed on settling for any guy at all rather than being happy with yourself.
                In a similar vein I didn’t really care for the portrayal of the other minor female characters. I know this is a YA novel and more often than not the “sisterhood” gets pushed aside in favour of highlighting how different and thus special the main character is, but I don’t think Sally needed it. She was obviously unique on her own and having gorgeous, sexually and socially aggressive girls as competition didn’t really add anything to the story. At times, it was almost too much to have girls coming up to Becks and dismissing Sally when she was standing right there. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not every woman is going to find someone attractive but this wasn’t the case with Becks. Even women twice his age seemed to want to jump his bones and they weren’t shy about telling him no matter how rude it was. Thankfully, this wasn’t a huge part of the novel. The female competition trope is a big no no for me so it says a lot that I could still enjoy Adorkable despite some of these aspects popping up.
Overall, Adorkable is a fantastic debut novel and one that represents the best friend trope very well. If you’re looking for something heart-warming with loveable main characters and some very noteworthy kissing scenes, this is the book for you.



Wednesday 6 April 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Can I Get Another Lifetime?

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     
      By the time this post goes live it'll be the beginning of April which means that Camp NaNoWriMo will be in full swing. Even though I've taken the first week off work I know I'll probably be behind in my writing because aside from taking on Camp I've also got other projects happening on the side and the masochist in me has decided that it's a great idea to start writing Marvel fan fiction.
        I don't know how some people do it. I've been internet stalking again and there are people on the web who have multiple accounts on social media, have a gazillion hobbies outside of writing, children to look after, day jobs to work at. And still they're producing more books than I have. This is incredible to me.
       If I had another lifetime to play with I don't know if I'd be able to go any faster or focus any better. There are just so many things that I would love to be good at but which require time and dedication that I am sorely lacking. I would so love to be a graphic artist and be able to produce images from my own novels. Or learn a trade of some kind. But I guess for now I'll just be happy with winning Camp and possibly catching up on all of the reading that I should have done months ago.