For What It's Worth

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: Notes from the Blender by Trish Cook, Brendan Halpin

Notes from the BlenderDeclan loves death metal--particularly from Finland. And video games--violent ones. And internet porn--any kind, really. He goes to school with Neilly Foster and spends most of his classroom time wondering what it might be like to know her, to talk to her, maybe even to graze against her sweater in the hallway. Neilly is an accomplished gymnast, naturally beautiful, and a constant presence at all the best parties (to which Declan is never invited). She's the queen of cool, the princess of poker face, and her rule is uncontested-- or it was until today, when she's dumped by her boyfriend, betrayed by her former BFF Lulu, and then informed she's getting a new brother--of the freaky fellow classmate variety. Declan's dad is marrying Neilly's mom. Soon. Which means they'll be moving in together. (YA Contemporary)

Two unlikely allies are thrown together when Declan’s dad is caught sleeping with Neilly’s mom…oh but that’s not all…….the parents are getting married so the two will also be living together….soon.

Notes from the Blender is told in the alternating POVs of Declan – a dorky unpopular 16 yr old, obsessed with porn, death metal, porn, video games, porn and of Neilly – the popular girl who is featured in many of Declan’s fantasies.

At first Declan isn’t too upset by the revelation, as he sees it, there is a good chance to catch Neilly naked in the shower once they live in the same house. But the revelations just keep on coming. Neilly’s mom is also pregnant. The parents want everyone to just accept the new situation and become one big happy extended family. Neither Declan or Neilly even knew their parents were dating and are basically the polar opposites on the school social ladder. This is a big adjustment for them to make. Their parents are up in arms over the negative reaction to the news. I usually think the teenagers are self absorbed brats in most books but I think these two kids had a point and I kind of wished they never fully gave into their parents even though it was the right thing to do. (I'm stubborn that

This book is written in a really snarky, honest, in your face style that may be off putting to some people but it had me laughing out loud. Declan is pretty much all talk and Neilly is more than the popular bitch persona that everyone perceives her to be. 

Notes from the Blender touches on many current social issues like same sex marriage, underage drinking, drugs, and religion with a deft hand and always with humor. For all their bluster, Neilly and Declan are two great kids just trying to find their way through adolescence. I really enjoyed watching their evolution from enemies to friends to family.

Declan’s porn/sex obsessed lovin ways do get a little old. I thought “do teenage boys really think about sex that much?” and I was going to ask my husband but there are some things I just don’t need to know. The alternating POV's give you a break from his thoughts though, and Declan really is a sweet kid.

The one thing that lowered my rating for the book is the last third of the story. I loved that the authors tackled the tough issues and did it quite well in the beginning. By the end they were piling on so many different topics that I was getting a little weary even though I agreed with most of what was being said. Also the ending was a little overly saccharine compared to the edgy writing style earlier in the book. I would still highly recommend it though.

Rating: I would give Notes from the Blender an overall 3 out of 4. Sweet, funny coming of age story with plenty of humor that manages to sneak in a few valuable lessons.

Find the authors:
Trish Cook: Website
Brendan Halpin: Website

Buy the book! Notes from the Blender
Publisher: Egmont USA May 24th, 2011
Source: ARC copy from BEA


  1. I adored this book. I thought Declan was just so real and true to what a teenage boy is really like isntead of the romanticized version we get in a lot of YA. (and yes, yes they do think that way).

    I loved how two different teens managed to become family (even when they were pulling away from their parents which were the driving force getting them together in the first place).

    Such a good book! I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

    geek girl's book blog

  2. I wonder the same thing when I read about a sex-obsessed teen boy protagonist. Is it really like that? Surely it must be exaggerated for fictional purposes! But then I also read hormone-free teen boy protagonists and wonder why on earth they're being portrayed so innocently. It's a balance.

  3. @geekgirl I really loved how both kids were normal! They were funny and snarky but not pretentious and I also liked how this wasn't about a romance - just family.
    I love guy POV's and Declan was such a great kid.

  4. LOL about your Declan comment. I've heard from others that he really likes to "love himself". Boys!

    I liked that the characters seem normal. How odd, especially in the YA genre. And I'm also glad it's funny. I think I shall pick this one up soon! Thanks for the awesome review, Panda!

  5. I need to read this book :) sounds like a normal book

  6. i think i would be uber turned off by declan's obsession too. i was kinda turned off from the book just reading it in the synopsis. i'm glad you liked it other than that though!

  7. Lol, you got me with Finland :D Wohoo, she listens to Finnish music, lol

  8. This sounds really interesting. I thought of the movie "Drive Me Crazy" when I was reading this post, mostly b/c of the storyline with the parents.

  9. I LOVE the sound of this one! I think lately I've been really attracted to the books co-written by Brendan Halpin. Thanks for putting this on my radar! Happy reading.

  10. Oh, this one sounds really interesting! Goes on my to-read list on GR. Thanks for bringing it to my attention :-)

  11. You say you want to know and I'll say that I don't, personally. But people in my school... you wonder if they have attention for anything else. It varies between people, I guess.

  12. @Alex - LOL = Yeah Im guessing I'm fine with the unknown on that particular subject!

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