Skip to main content

Weekly Reviews and Recommendations: Week 33 Part 1

Hello, everyone! Today I have another review for you. I'm going to keep this intro super short because I have a crazy head ache right now, but I'll link last week's articles below if you want more.


Thanks For The Trouble by Tommy Wallach (276 pages)
Overview: Parker Sante no longer sees the point in going to school, going to speech therapy, or doing anything, really. After his Dad died six years ago, Parker stopped talking. Ever since, he's gone through life skipping school and hanging out at different hotels, honing his pick pocket skills. One day, after stealing a giant wad of cash from a strange, silver haired girl, Parker is roped into a whole new adventure. When the girl, Zelda, catches him and, in turn, takes his notebook, the two start to communicate, Zelda talking and Parker writing. Zelda tells Parker that she's going to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge when she gets some dreaded phone call, and Parker is determined to stop this by showing Zelda just how great life is, even if he can't see that himself sometimes. Overall: 2

General Thoughts: The great problem with this book can be identified in one word: why? Now, that can be applied to a variety of different questions, but my big one is this: Why did Wallach write this book? I guess the summary could point me towards believing that maybe its something along the lines of 'one person can change your life', but I don't believe that was the point. There's usually more to it than that.
Then, I apply that to the characters. For the bits and pieces of information the readers learns about them, we're left to wonder why they do this or that or why they are the way they are. And the plot as well. What significance did these specific events hold towards ultimately getting us to our final destination? Usually, these are questions I can easily answer, and that is how I transfer my thoughts into numbers. But for this book, I honestly have no answers to give, which, in my opinion, proves that the book has missed its mark.

Characters: 2 The character craft and development presented a real problem for this book. It staunchly refused to give the reader any details beyond the very first layer of surface. Parker Sante, the main and point of view character, has some kind of speech issue that was brought on by the car accident that killed his father. His inability to speak and its subsequent effect on his life, is one of Sante's few defining characteristics, unfortunately, and Wallach doesn't even bother to clarify exactly what happened to Parker, why he refuses to go to therapy, or really what he thinks of his issue. The one other thing the reader really knows about Parker is that he hangs out in hotels to pick pockets. He never gives a motive. He doesn't do it because his family is starving, and he really shows no remorse about it, so I'm utterly confused about what this says about the moral values of Parker Sante. I've never read a first person narrative where I felt so isolated from the main character.
Then there's Zelda who is really the definition a manic pixie dream girl, but this is never even referenced at all like Wallach was unaware of the use of the trope. But that's not my main problem with Zelda. She claims that she is 247 years old and was born in Kassel Germany as a girl who could not age. And she believes and maintains this story whole heartedly. Throughout the book, I wondered if she had some form of mental illness, perhaps multiple personality disorder that drove what seemed to be the delusion she is living. Seeing this is a contemporary story, I still favor that theory, but from what Wallach has written, I'm still utterly confused. Parker only ever expresses his thoughts on the matter in that he's this or that percentage of believing her story, but never really questions his motive.
Also, Zelda makes her intention of suicide quite clear from the moment they meet. Besides her rumored past, this is the only other thing we know about Zelda, and, yet, the only concern Parker shows about this is his determination to distract her. He never once thought she might need professional help, or he should tell someone about her obvious issues. I'm still deeply confused about these two characters.
The rest of the characters are even more one note than these two main characters. They all sound exactly the same. The entire supporting class was a faceless blur in my mind as I read the story.

Plot: 2 This story takes place over the course of three days. Halloween, November 1, and November 2. Essentially, he meets Zelda, they do a bunch of random things that have no rhyme or reason, and then they part ways forever. This type of narrative structure can be extremely effective in raising the steaks and showing how much a few days can change a person. Of course, for this to work, there needs to be a very clear understanding of who the person is before and after as well as how the chosen, and limited events get them to where they are when the book ends. Unfortunately, the course of actions fell just as flat as the characters who preformed them.

Writing: 2 I am honestly so confused about this book for so many reasons. The first is that I absolutely adored this author's first book, We All Looked Up, and I couldn't recommend it highly enough, especially for the writing. I never thought that between two books by the same author my score for writing could plummet three points. This work has none of the emotional grounding or stakes of his first book, nor does it have any of the beautiful exploration of identity in the last book. I understand that this is a very different book, but these are elements that should transfer into any kind of book as they are foundations for story building.
I would love to know what Tommy Wallach's intentions were with this book. Does Zelda really have a mental illness like I assumed from the way she was written? What really motivates their actions? Why did he choose to approach suicide in this book the way that he did?
At the end of this book, the only thing I felt was totally baffled.

Links of Interest:
Week 32: Nothing: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/10/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week_26.html

Week 32: A Semi-Deffinative List of Worst Nightmares: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/10/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week_29.html

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and check out our other articles ranging from book reviews to poetry and short stories to editorials. To get updates about new posts and extras, please follow us on Instagram (@readingwritingandme), Twitter (@readwriteandme), and Facebook or sign up for email alerts by clicking the subscribe button at the top of the sight. Also, please leave comments or email us (readingwritingandme@gmail.com) with your thoughts or review requests. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

Swimming Lessons By Lili Reinhart Poetry Review

  Swimming Lessons  by Lili Reinhart  Overall: 5 This is the first poetry book I've ever read in its entirety outside of Shel Silverstein, so I've checked off one of my reading goals for the year with this one. I've now read a graphic novel and a book of poetry. I've been anticipating Swimming Lessons  so long that I can't believe it's actually in my hands. I've been a fan of Lili since Riverdale, and I've continued to be a fan of hers even when the show got a bit too ridiculous for me to keep watching every week. I've been excited for the chance to get to see something completely created a controlled by Lili.  I'm not sure what I expected from Swimming Lessons . I think I had almost no idea what it would be like or the topics it would cover. After the first couple poems, I was completely hooked. In the intro, Lili prefaces the collection by noting that poetry has always given her solace in knowing other people felt the same specific emotions tha

My Most Anticipated of 2021/2021 ARC TBR

  A few days ago, I put out a list of my favorite books of the year that I couldn't stop talking about all year long. Now I'm here to introduce you to a brand new slate of books that I'm predicting will make my favorites list next year. These are the books I can't wait to get my hands on because they sound absolutely amazing! I've decided to separate the list into an ARC TBR so far for 2021 of ARCs I have and then to make a wishlist section below that with ARCs I hope to get or books that I'll splurge to buy. I'll include preorder links to the books that are already up for preorder so that you can easily grab a couple surprise gifts to show up throughout the year if any of these books look exciting! These will be affiliate bookshop links which means shopping the links support the blog at no cost to you. Also, if you're looking for even more 2021 books, Rachel and Vicky made the most amazing database/spreadsheet/blog to collect all the 2021 debuts togethe

More Than Maybe Review

More Than Maybe  by Erin Hahn (May 2020) Overview: Vada works at a dive bar, scraping together money for college and learning about running from a show her soon to be step-dad to get closer to her future dreams. She also runs the Loud Lizard's successful music blog Behind the Music. Vada is about to head off to LA and start working towards her music journalism dreams, but she has to make it through senior year first. Luke Greenly is the son of famous British punk rocker, Charlie Greenly. The whole family has set down roots in Michigan where his mom works at the university, but remnants of his dad's past life still follow them. Luke loves writing songs but hates performing, and, because of his dad, he's been thrust into the spotlight more than he'd like. For now, he'd rather stick to making successful podcast The Grass Is Greenly with his twin brother, Cullen, and hopelessly pining after Vada through stalking Behind the Music. Overall: 5 Characters: 5 Vada is a

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon: YA Book Review

Super Fake Love Song  by David Yoon Overview: Sunny Dae is sick of his California neighborhood where everyone pretends to be something they're not to keep up with all the other rich families. He's happy in his own world, LARPing with his friends, even if he gets made fun of for it at school. That is until Cirrus comes into the picture. She's undeniably cool and he's undeniably a loser in everyone's eyes, so he finds a new personality. He borrows a life from the coolest person he used to know, his older brother Gray, who's on his way to becoming a rockstar. Of course, lies like that always fall apart, and the music industry is unforgiving. It's a long fall from the top. Overall: 3  Characters: 3 This is the weirdest book I've ever read, which I'll get into more later. One part of that is the book is basically only told in details. You'd think this would help with characterization, but so many characters are left completely flat. Sunny is unashamed

The Best, The Brightest, The Totally Biased List of my Favorite Books of 2020

 Welcome to my big list of 2020 favorites! Usually, I do this award show style and give out different awards in a variety of categories I made up. This year is a little different because it's 2020, and I'm out of brain power to think of categories. These books appear in no particular order, and I selected them purely based on which books are still in my head months after I read them. I didn't read nearly as many books this year as usual, but I think I managed to read more books that I fell head over heels for than ever. Publishing a book this year is a major accomplishment in itself, so these authors all deserve extra rounds of applause for launching their books into an uncertain world, and even if a book from this year doesn't make a list, it's still incredible for existing. Even though I've already talked everyone's ears off about these books all year long, I'm going to do it one more time because they got me through both a hard and hectic year and pro

evermore book tag!

As you probably know, I absolutely adore Taylor Swift, and I recently did a folklore book tag, so I figured I should make a version of evermore as well! If you want to read that post, you can find it here . And if you want all my thoughts on folklore, you can watch my original folklore reaction on my YouTube channel here.   I'm so happy to have found an evermore book tag I loved created by  Star Is All Booked Up ! That post is linked (I really enjoyed it!), and those are the prompts I'm using here.  In this tag, I just talked about books for the prompts and didn't get into the songs. If you want more of my evermore thoughts specifically, check out my blog post of favorite lyrics here and my new reaction to evermore here . You can also scroll to the bottom of the post to watch the video as well. If you want to know more about any of the books I mention, all of their titles are linked to my review.  I hope you love the post, and let me know your favorite evermore songs in the

Positions Book Tag

Today, I'm sharing a new book tag created by Cielo over at Bellerose Reads who tagged me in her new Positions book tag. I love working on book tags inspired by pop music, so I was thrilled to get the tag. If I'm being totally honest, I wasn't super into Positions, Ariana Grande's latest album. I'm much more of a Thank U Next fan because that album was far more lyrically focused. Positions reminds me a lot of Sweetener. I do like "POV", the closing track of the album. Still, I'm super excited to share the tag because these are some of the best tag questions I've ever seen. Cielo did a wonderful job coming up with really cool prompts. I had a blast thinking of books that fit them. As always, just click the book title to read my review of any of the books I mentioned. And don't forget to read the original tag here .    shut up – a book you couldn’t shut up about  There are way too many. Honestly, a ton of them are already sprinkled through this po

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant: YA Book Review

  Happily Ever Afters  by Elise Bryant  Overview: Tessa gets the writing opportunity of her dreams, but her words run out at the same time. While she can't wait to take a novel writing class at her new school, the idea of sharing her work with anyone but her best friend, Caroline, makes her unable to keep writing, even for herself. Caroline devises a plan to get her to fall in love so that she can jumpstart her creative juices for the romances Tessa writes herself into. Real life inspiration is clearly not the answer, and Tessa is left even further from the answer to all of her problems. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 While I knew this book was going to have a kind of forced dating situation as Tessa tried to get this boy to fall for her, I didn't predict the love triangle till I started reading. I'm not going to fault Bryant for using a love triangle because everyone does it, but I do have to note that these characters fall into the unfortunate side effect of most love triangles

This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry: YA Book Review

  This Will Be Funny Someday  by Katie Henry Overview: Izzy is sick of being 16. She's sick of being the "easy kid" who never causes a problem for the family or demands attention. Her mom is always busy working at her law firm, and her dad just isn't super invested. School is awful, and her controlling boyfriend makes her question what it means to be in love. And then she stumbles into a bar on comedy night, and suddenly, she finds a world so different from her own- one that's better. Though it requires maintaining more than a few lies, this new life with her college friends is too good to give up. That is, until it all comes crashing down. About growing up, being your authentic self, and navigating intense relationships for the first time, this book is incredibly relatable and quite unique in the way it approaches common YA questions. Overall: 5 Characters: 5 I relate to Izzy on a deep, deep level. From the second I read the synopsis, I knew the book was going to