Thursday, 14 June 2012
Review: Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Released: May 24th, 2012
Jeane Smith's a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on Twitter. Michael Lee's a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie. They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can't they stop snogging?
I've been a fan of Sarra Manning's books for years now. I even remember reading some of her writing in now defunct UK teen magazine J17, and thinking it was funny and true. For me, she's one of the best writers of contemporary teen fiction in the UK, which is part of the reason why I was so looking forward to Adorkable. I'm loathe to admit I was mightily disappointed, but unfortunately I was. I finished the whole book as is always my policy, but it was a struggle.
Adorkable started off well enough. I thought "Yes! Cool characters! Realism! Laughs!", but I was soon deflated and not able to get into it at all. My major problem was the characters. I tried to like Jeane's pretentious name and self-centred qualities, but I couldn't. Eventually, ever word out of her mouth annoyed me and I just wanted to rip her out of the book and throw her out of the window. I think she was actually supposed to be like this and, by the end of the book, I think I should have liked her. But I didn't. She was horrible to Michael and thought she was better than everyone, and that does not a cool girl make. Oh, and the vocabulary she used was bordering on cringeworthy. But more on that later.
Michael Lee, as Jeane refers to him ALL the way through the book (argh!), was slightly better than Jeane, but he didn't do anything for me either. I found him bland and nondescript, and didn't like the way he basically lay down and took all Jeane's rubbish. Even when he stood up to her, I was wondering why he bothered and why he was even with her in the first place. I don't think they suited at all, but that's just me. I know other readers have read this book and adored both Jeane and Michael, so obviously they're just not my kind of people.
I did buy their surface attraction to each other, a mad lust overtook them and they snogged at every given opportunity. I never felt anything deeper between the two of them besides an immediate attraction and a respect for Michael's overall physique, though I wish I had. If I'd been more invested in their relationship, I think I would have liked them more. Or maybe that's the other way around. I think Sarra Manning did depict the first throes of a teen romance very well, that all-consuming, I-can't-stop-thinking-about-him feeling came through well.
Another thing that really bugged me about Adorkable was the language Jeane used. She said things like "totes" (totally) and "blates" (blatantly) amongst others. Now I know these words are used these days, well, I've heard "totes" before, but I usually see them used on Twitter as a joke. After a couple of uses of each, I was so irritated I wanted to put the book down straight away. Perhaps it's my age - I'm twenty-five, after all - but I would like to meet a real-life sixteen-year-old who talks like that. It would verify a lot.
Also, I got so fed up of hearing how dorky Jeane was, and how she went to so much trouble to stand out and be apart from her peers. It wasn't endearing or admirable, it was just over the top. She wasn't actually *that* good, not like she thought she was. Eurgh. If I'd been at school with her, I'd have avoided her at all available costs. I was also puzzled as to how she'd ended up as a huge internet sensation, the kind with half a million Twitter followers and thirty thousand e-mails waiting for her in her inbox. I've never heard of anyone getting that many emails, and I know from blogging and using Twitter myself that gaining that many followers would take quite a while, and you'd have to be pretty famous. I didn't believe Jeane's blog could ever be as big as it was made out to be, and the fact that she got invited all over the world to speak at events was ridiculous. I didn't buy a word of it. I did like that Jeane was a blogger, though. I could relate to that.
I realise this review is a negative one, and I feel bad about that. I have loved almost all of Sarra Manning's other books, but this one definitely wasn't for me. As I mentioned earlier, lots of other bloggers, reviewers and readers have enjoyed this one immensely, so I hope you'll still give it a chance and won't be put off because I didn't like it. I'll still be reading Sarra's future books, I just hope I like her next one more.