The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle (278 pages)
Overview: Quinn wanted to write the next great blockbuster. He was going to do it with the help of his older sister, Annabelle, casting and directing. This was the plan until December 20 when his sister ran a stoplight and crashed into the school, dying on impact. Ever since, Quinn and his mother have been struggling to come to terms with his new life. By June, he still hasn't left the house, and its fallen apart with his mother refusing to leave the house, clean, or sort through the mail. When his best friend Geoff shows up to pull him back into life, Quinn starts to experience a whole new side of the world from an older boyfriend to meeting with his old neighbor and screenwriter and hanging out on his movie set. This might be enough to push him out of his grief back into the world and his plans for screenwriting stardom and a pool in his Hollywood backyard. Overall: 3.5
Characters: 4 These are good characters in general. They serve the story but are not particularly special or standout. Some of these characters seem like purely constructions to fit the plot and not like real people. In a way, Quinn, the narrator, seems to create a wall between the readers and himself and the other characters from the thick way his voice is constructed.
Plot: 4 The story was interesting enough. There was a good amount of growth in Quinn's character and engaging moments to keep to story moving along. There were some flat moments, but overall it was fast paced and quality.
Writing: 3 There were a couple of issues I found with some of the aspects of the book that seemed to make it loose a bit of realism. I found that the writing was trying too hard. Federle wanted to make Quinn deeply sarcastic a la Holden Caulfield of Catcher in the Rye as the review on the cover suggests. Unfortunately, the imitation came off stilted and formulated instead of effortless like Salinger's writing.
Also, the writing felt both clunky and overly simple because the author felt the need to over explain many things to the point where it seems like the author does not have faith in the reader's ability to satisfactorily bring the story to life with their imagination. Overall, this was a good book and a fast read.