Beyond Clueless – Linas Alsenas
Marty Sullivan’s life ends, basically, when her parents enroll her in a private high school. A private, Catholic, girls-only high school. Meanwhile, at their local public school, her best friend, Jimmy, comes out of the closet and finds himself a boyfriend and a new group of friends. Marty feels left out and alone, until she gets a part in the school musical, Into the Woods, and Jimmy and his new crew are in it, too! Things start looking even better when Marty falls for foxy fellow cast member Felix Peroni. And Felix seems to like her back. But the drama is just beginning. Can Marty and Jimmy keep up their friendship? And is Marty’s new beau everything he appears to be? Or is Marty too clueless to figure it all out before it’s too late?
Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
I genuinely don’t remember why I decided to request this from NetGalley, but apparently I did and now I feel silly because I didn’t enjoy this book very much.
On the plus side, it only took a couple of hours to read because I skimmed most of it, so I didn’t waste too much time.
Some mild spoilers ahead, but I blacked out the really spoiler-y bit.
What I liked:
-Oliver was a nice guy. In another book, I’d have probably adored him, but I was pretty “meh” about all the characters, so poor Oliver didn’t really stand a chance of sticking in my head.
-cute cover! Although now that I look at it again, I can’t figure out if this book is supposed to be MG or YA (I personally think it makes more sense as middle grade; more on that in a minute).
-props for diversity, I guess. Jimmy’s boyfriend is Sri Lankan, Marty’s best girl friend is…Asian? I can’t remember where in particular she is from, but yay diverse best friends! And of course, you have a handful of gay characters, so yay, even more diversity!
What I didn’t like:
-pretty much all the characters (except for Oliver). Marty was strongly channeling Mia in the first two Princess Diaries books except more annoying (and Mia was occasionally irritating) and, as the title suggests, was beyond clueless. But not in an endearing “oh, how sweet”, sort of way. More in a “why is she such an idiot??” way. I also couldn’t understand how one minute she was using words like “counterintuitive” and the next, she was whining about being the only one of her friends who didn’t have a boyfriend. Marty is 14. Marty needs to calm her hormones.
Her friends aren’t the greatest either, and seemed very one-dimensional. I think I was intrigued by this title because Jimmy, Marty’s best friend, comes out and I thought it would provide some sort of character development (like Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda), but Jimmy is boring. So is his boyfriend. And all their other friends.
-I could not for the life of me understand the Felix-Marty relationship. Was he just after her because he thought she was hot? What was the whole deal with Jill? Just how “hot” was Marty that it warranted this allegedly attractive guy cheating on his girlfriend? SOME ONE EXPLAIN IT TO ME.
-the Oliver thing. HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER
I figured out he had a crush on Marty, but it would have been SO MUCH BETTER if he came out as bisexual because that’s a great way to start the discussion, especially if it’s middle grade, or even in YA, and it would have made most of the book so much better. As it is, it felt like it was tacked on there, and honestly, why didn’t Marty question him about his parents after she found out his mother left?? He clearly mentioned “parentS”, you’d think she’d ask if his dad remarried or something.
-the other thing that confuses me is whether this is middle grade or young adult. On the one hand, this makes sense as one of those “transition-y” books in between middle grade and YA (like on the really young side of YA), but there was swearing and I honestly don’t know what the rules are for cussing in MG.
Basically, this was a disappointment. I’m not even sure why I’m giving it two stars. I’m sure there’s an audience for it, but this is one of those rare cases where I feel too old to read this (and I flippin’ LIVE for YA) and I think it would be better received by readers aged 12-14.