Skip to main content

Every Other Weekend Review


Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson
Overview: Adam and Jolene are both stuck at their dad's apartments every other weekend and neither of them are happy about it. That is, until they meet one another. They learn to get through the worst times of their lives together, and, soon, they don't dread the mandatory visits. While they fall for each other fast, it takes a long time for them to admit it. Overall: 3

Characters: 3 The book is split POVs between Adam and Jolene. Adam is very passive. He cares too much about how everyone else is feeling so he doesn't process his own feelings very well. He fades into the background, and that's okay. Jolene is loud and brash and sometimes flat out mean. She appeals to Adam because she feels fresh and different. Jolene walks a fine line between a character with a singular personality trait and being a manic pixie dream girl. I think I land more on the one note side, though, because that's the problem with most of this book. Adam, Jolene, their parents and siblings, all have one thing. One thing they care about. One pattern of behavior. There's very little in the way of dynamics which makes it hard to care for these characters a ton. I like Jolene enough. She says some sarcastic things sometimes that are amusing, but I wish that she was more than a just "quirky". Her relationship with Adam is the same way from start to finish too. They both instantly like each other. They instantly act like boyfriend and girlfriend so their lack of actual commitment doesn't mean a ton to me which makes it hard for their romantic relationship to be super interesting as the plot carries on.
Also, the dynamics with their parents are central to the story, but they are all so flat it's hard to care. Adam's mom is too embroiled in grief to really care about anyone else or function. Yes, many people are paralyzed by their grief, but this could have had so much more nuance. She was basically portrayed as worthless and in need of Adam's constant care. Jeremy, his brother, only wants to defend their dad. It's all he ever does with very little logic. Adam's dad tries, but Adam is super cold to him over breaking up the family. On Jolene's side, her dad is missing 24/7 and her mom is too deranged to be believable. The singular motivations paired with single personality traits makes it super hard to create any investment with the characters or put much stock in what happens to them because everything is taken to soap opera levels without the juiciness.

Plot: 3 The book is like 500 pages where almost nothing happens. Obviously, to have a plot really work in contemporary, you need to be able to have really dynamic character relationships to rest your plot threads on, and that's where this stumbles. They spend tons of time just sitting together or having the same fight with their parents, but the emotional stakes are just lacking.
Also, in the last 100 or 50 pages Jolene faces a sexual assault issue that feels super rushed and sloppily written and just used as a plot point, which I hate. Those stories are so important, but they shouldn't be tacked on to the end to extend your book when it doesn't fit in with anything else that happened throughout the story. It felt like a device over something genuine to the story, and I find that almost offensive. I wish that had just been skipped if it couldn't be handled properly.

Writing: 3 The book was fine enough when I picked it up. Jolene is entertaining enough for maybe 200 or 300 pages. I read the first 200 pages in one sitting and got to around 300 before I just wanted to completely quit. It made me start questioning what the point even was. 500 pages is pushing it for fantasy in my book, so 500 pages of people sitting around without any emotional stakes, it's hard to stay interested. They do a ton of things over and over again without building on their arcs and the plot. I love books where nothing happens, but I just need more to be there in the details. I also need it to be shorter and much more internally focused where characters really mine their feelings. Something more like We Are Okay. This book just didn't seem like it had enough time to be mulled over and developed properly before it was published. I probably would've given it an extra star if it had been 300 pages. Everything that made me really done or upset with it happened well after it could've been satisfyingly wrapped.

Books Like This...
We Are Okay: Review Here

On The Podcast:

Links of Interest:

Comments

  1. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. Better luck with your next one!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

YA You Need To Read: April 2021

It's already April! School has been super super hectic, and I'm starting my old job as a bookseller again, so I haven't had much time for reading lately (ironic, I know), but I did want to talk about some books coming out in April that I can't wait to read (one day) that might inspire you to pick them up. I particularly can't wait for My Epic Spring Break Up! It's been on my list for a while now (I mean, look at that cover), but I also found some new books that hadn't been on my radar while browsing around the internet that I wanted to bring to your attention.  Let me know in the comments what April books you can't wait for!  Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Kahn  April 6th Zara has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas for a while. She's always dealt with the Islamophobia that's rampant in her high school, but when the star football player gets suspended, Zara becomes the target of a racist attack by the rest of the team that puts her and her family'

Once Upon a Quinceañera

Once Upon a Quinceañera   by Monica Gomez-Hera Overview: Carmen hasn't graduated high school, even though it's the summer after senior year. When her senior project fell through, Carmen has to scramble to complete the project over the summer. That means no college (not that she applied) and no future plans beyond becoming a Dream (floating around in a Belle costume at children's parties) with her best friend Waverley. So maybe it's not the summer Carmen wanted, but it's fine. At least until her ex-boyfriend who ruined everything, Mauro, also shows up on the team and then they get assigned to work her nemesis and younger cousin's quinceañera, which becomes the big event of the summer. Nothing ever quite goes to plan for Carmen, does it? Overall: 4 Characters: 4 I enjoyed hanging out with Carmen for a while. She's super witty and cynical in a way that I appreciate. I also loved reading about a character who's just out of high school and doesn't have a

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi: YA Book Review

  Yolk  by Mary H.K. Choi Overview: Jayne is in fashion school in NYC. Well, she's enrolled. It's debatable how often she actually attends. June has a fancy job in finance, or that's what everyone thinks. But when June gets cancer, the estranged sisters are pulled together because June needs Jayne's identity to get treatment. By pretending to be her sister to get the life-saving procedure, June is forced to come clean and pull Jayne back into her orbit. Though their relationship stays rocky, they're suddenly glued together, forced to admit that their respective glamorous lives are actually filled with roaches and trauma and missteps. Overall: 5+++ This book made me happy cry (that's never happened while reading) and sad cry. Characters: 5 The book is told from Jayne's perspective in an extremely close first person. This book has plot. Things happen in the way that life happens, but it's mostly just characters getting split open and probed for all their w

Olivia Rodrigo'a SOUR As YA Books: Track By Track

This list turned out to be much harder to make than I anticipated when I came up with the idea last week. I set out to match songs to SOUR because what goes better with an album written by a 17/18 year old than YA books, but it turns out that YA books are just too hopeful for this album. Unlike many of these songs, I couldn't find books where the characters ended the book totally despondent and broken up. It took a bit of brainstorming, but I think I found a book to match the essence of each SOUR track. Le me know in the comments which songs on SOUR are your favorite. Mine are "brutal", "favorite crime", "deja vu", and "jealousy, jealousy".  1. "brutal" : War and Speech   by Don Zolidis War and Speech just radiates the same badass, discontented with teenage life energy as "brutal". This was the first book that popped into my mind when I thought about making this post. Just look at the cover. Sydney's life has been fa

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

Writing Morally Gray Characters: A Guest Post by Laurie Devore, Author of A Better Bad Idea

Laurie Devore is stopping by the blog today to talk about her new book from Imprint, A Better Bad Idea , which is out now! This mystery/thriller/romance fusion is Laurie's third book, and it's a new twist on her usual contemporary YA stories. For this guest post, Laurie talks about crafting morally gray characters that your readers will still feel attached to and cheer on. Here's her best writing tips:  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of what people will do when they’re pushed to their brink. While my new novel, A BETTER BAD IDEA, may seem like a departure in some ways from my previous novels, I actually think their DNA is quite similar. The stakes are higher, but as ever, this book is about girls making unimaginable choices because of their circumstances, whether self-inflicted or not.   I’m constantly thinking about what it means to write morally gray characters, and I think the main takeaway from me is that I’m just much more interested in what people do and w

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston: NA Book Review

  One Last Stop  by Casey McQuiston Get Your Copy! Overview: August moved to New York for yet another fresh start and hopefully to finish out college (finally). In her attempt to find a place, she stumbles into an apartment full of interesting people who will quickly become her best friends. They fold her seamlessly into their lives. And then, on the subway, August meets a girl who will change her life forever. As time goes on, August finds out that Subway Girl, or Jane, is stuck on the Q metro line by some kind of energetic force. With the Q shutting down for maintenance by the end of the summer, August and her friends have to band together to get Jane unstuck, even if that means bouncing her back to 1977 where she came from and never seeing her again. Overall: 4 Characters: 5 I genuinely loved everyone in this book, and they gave me such warm, fuzzy, and hopeful feelings. The book would be New Adult if that was a category that publishing actually used (please can we make this more of

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

Is YA For Me?

I've seen a lot of different conversations taking place on Twitter that all come back to a central theme. The YA space is controlled by adults. For the most part, they are the ones with the purchasing power, they have jobs in the industry, they are in a better position to amplify their voices about how they feel about different books and the category as a whole. I've been thinking about these conversations as a whole, and it really does come back to the intended audience not owning the space and what that means for the category and the conversations around it. As a teen who's heavily involved in the YA community, I sometimes feel awkward reading all the different, slightly varied takes from adults. Some make blanket statements for themselves and some work with teens and try to be a conduit to add them to the conversation. Very rarely do I come across a real teen who gets an amplified voice in the conversation (definitely go check out Vicky Who Reads on Twitter because,

Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn: YA Book Review

  Never Saw You Coming  by Erin Hahn  Preorder - Out September 7th- Preorder Campaign  From Nicola's Books Overview: Meg is done with living by her parents' rules. Or parent? Nothing makes sense after she finds out that the dad she's known all of her life actually isn't her biological dad, and her biological dad is actually dead. But his grandmother and his brother are living in the UP, and Meg intends to meet them before it's too late. With high school behind her, Meg makes the leap of faith towards a tiny town she's never been to. She quickly folds herself into the community, finding her blood family and her found family, while also facing the stigmas and internalized sexism she's learned through her mom and her church over the years. This is the ultimate coming of age story. Overall: 5+++ Characters: 5 Meg and Micah, the two POV characters are now also my two favorite people. In the companion novel of sorts, More Than Maybe , we meet Meg as Vada's hom