For What It's Worth

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: Weird Girl and What’s His Name by Meagan Brothers


Weird Girl and What's His NameIn the podunk town of Hawthorne, North Carolina, high school geeks Lula and Rory share everything—sci-fi and fantasy fandom, an obsession with old X-Files episodes, and that feeling that they’ll never quite fit in. Lula and Rory have no secrets from each other; after all, she knows he’s gay, and he understands why she worships the mother that walked out on her. But then Lula discovers that Rory has not only tried out for the football team, but has been having an affair with his middle-aged divorcee boss. With their friendship disrupted, Lula begins to question her very identity, and when she disappears in the middle of the night, Rory is left to survive on his own. ~ Goodreads

Source: Purchased

Review: Stunning cover and eye catching title! I have to say this book wasn’t anything that I was expecting. I bought it based on a recommendation from Jen at YA Romantics, then forgot to read it for months. When I finally picked it back up I went in cold turkey, without re-reading the summary. I need to do that more often.

Rory and Lula are best friends, living in a small southern town that doesn’t quite appreciate their oddball qualities – hence the names *Weird Girl & What’s His Name*. But they have each other and their X-Files obsession. Until Lula realizes that Rory has been keeping secrets.

Weird Girl and What’s His Name didn’t hook me in right away. Lula and Rory are those quirky, smarter than average book teens, surrounded by equally quirky adults. That kind of writing always creates a distance for me. Once I got going (around the 50 page mark) {most of }the quirks fell away and there was a more nuanced portrayal of what they were going through.

When this book is good – it’s very good. It does an excellent job of exploring teen sexuality; first loves, confusion and the heartbreak we feel with misplaced affections.

It also does an excellent job of showing how complicated family can be and that your birth family isn’t your only family. I especially loved Lula’s interactions with her mom, who abandoned her as a baby. Her mom, Chris, just wasn’t maternal. There was no classic happy reunion, and while she can definitely be considered unlikable at times, Chris wasn’t written as a villain or shamed for her choices. It was messy, complicated and real.

Weird Girl and What’s His Name is at it’s best when it’s busting tropes and stereotypes and digging deeper into what it means to feel like you’re different from everyone else…

“But if you haven’t figured it out by now, then let me assure you, Lula – nobody’s normal. And pretty much everyone is trying to figure out how to be a so-called “normal person.” As if it’s some fixed point you reach, like zero degree Celsius. But everybody’s just who they are. Weird, flawed, good at some things, bad at others.”

However, I felt the author relied too heavily on quirk and pop culture references. It works most of the time but at others it wears thin. I think that will vary by reader though – some people really love that in a book but for me – it took away from some of the depth of the story.

Despite a few quibbles, I really enjoyed this one and recommend it to readers who are looking for a realistic portrayal of teens exploring their sexuality and what it means to be an outsider.

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Blogger Shame

Weird Girl and What's His Name is part of my Blogger Shame review Challenge
hosted by Herding Cats & Burning Soup to clear out those older books that keep getting pushed aside because...Ooh! New! Shiny!

15 comments:

  1. I might like it, I might not, who knows :)

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  2. First- I need to join this challenge.

    Second- this book sounds like something I'd love. And I have a high tolerance for quirk, an addiction to gorgeous book covers and clever titles.

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    1. I hate challenges but I love this one. It makes me feel so productive lol

      Then you will love this book!

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  3. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, despite its flaws. I love when I can see something special in a flawed book. It's been happening to me a lot lately! I have been drooling over this book for awhile. I really need to give in and buy it already. It sounds very relate-able for this day and age. :)

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    1. It's really good - even if there were things I didn't love.

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  4. Not perfect but good enough and I guess it made you think and affected you in the right way. I love that quote, I had a convo with my son yesterday. I told him maybe I have manic-depression hahaha...

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    1. I liked it a lot event with the flaws.

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  5. Even with quibbles...yay for a good read :D I go into pretty much every book cold turkey. I so much prefer that. Makes it much more interesting I think :D

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    1. I'm like a maniac investigating books before I read them lol

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  6. I like how realistic it sounds. Wonderful review :)

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  7. This looks like an interesting read and truly coming of age. I love quirk lol so I may need to check it out
    Good review :)

    Quite a Novel Idea

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  8. Oh this sounds like a book I would enjoy. I totally love that quote. Yea, when I figured that out I realized we are all the same feeling like we don't fit in... so in that way we do! :D

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  9. I wonder if I'd like this one.

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  10. I do like quirky stuff, and I love that this deals well with the topics at hand. But for some reason, pop culture references make me SO MAD in books- I guess because it dates them so quickly? I don't know, I am on the fence about this one, but more likely than I was before! Great review :)

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