Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tori's Review: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Series: None
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 307
Published by Simon Pulse on May 7, 2013
Date Finished: August 21, 2013
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First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!
Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.
To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

When I first went into this book, I thought that it was going to have Wattpad Syndrome. Simply put, Wattpad Syndrome is when a book lacks originality and copies other books' ideas and words. (If you are a Wattpadian, you are probably familiar with this case scenario.) But as I continued on in How My Summer Went Up in Flames, I found myself to be pleasantly surprised.

Let's start off with the beginning of the novel. Albeit the beginning was a bit slow at times and it took a while for the plot to take off (a good 30-50 pages, I believe), it was all worth it in the end. If you know me, then you know that I do happen to like a good, hot male love interest, and Logan filled that position instantly. His appearance made my heart race and my Hot Boy Alert radar beep.

I have to admit that Rosie is a bit on the wild side, but her antics made me laugh so much, and made the book so much better. Her snarky personality and her sarcasm kept a smile on my face and made me want to read more and more. Her best friend Matty also had a sense of humor, which mostly consisted of sarcasm, which I deeply appreciated. I, myself, and one that wallows in their sarcastic remarks, so I do love it when an author can make one of her characters just as sarcastic as I aspire to be.

A roller coaster, the middle was an absolute adventure, and I found myself wishing that I was there right along with them. Doktorski conjured up so many spectacular activities for the characters to do, and I commend her creativity. The entire time, it was fun. There were no dull moments in the middle of this novel, to be truthful. I doubt there are many books that I can say I enjoyed nearly every bit, but How My Summer Went Up in Flames is just one of those books. When I went into this book, I wanted a fun, summer read, and that's exactly what I got--a fun, summer read.

In my opinion, the ending is what makes or breaks a novel. You can have an awesome beginning and an even better middle, but if the ending falls short of amazing, then your novel instantly is fifty times worse that it could've been.

Could've, should've, would've. This book had none of that. The ending hit the spot for me, and I loved it so much. I have yet to find a book that I absolutely despise the ending of, and this book definitely did not disappoint.

Now that I've gone through the run down of the novel, here I'm going to get a little bit more specific.

I'm do happen to believe that Doktorski managed to capture the feelings of a teenage girl. The way Rosie was acting in the beginning and a bit in the middle felt massively real to me. It felt like normal post-breakup, teenage girl behavior to me. I thought that it was a bit overplayed in the beginning, but after I sat down and thought about it for a bit, I realized that it's probably what I would've done. (That says a lot about me, doesn't it?)

The other thing that I think was a pro for this book was Logan. Logan was so swoon-worthy, I swear. So swoon-worthy.

The other things that I liked about this book was the idea in general. It's fairly original, and I don't think I've ever seen or read anything like it before. I admire that Doktorski was able to create something so simple and yet so different from every other road trip, post-breakup novel out there. There's just something about a girl who torches her ex-boyfriend's car that makes a novel pop out to me. And Doktorski's writing made the reading experience even better. I loved her writing so much. It wasn't too much description, but it wasn't all dialogue either. It was the perfect medium. Doktorski also had a hilarious way of putting things, which I loved.

There are a lot of things that I loved about this book, obviously. The list of things that I didn't like is short, to be frank, but regardless there were still fault in this book that I couldn't ignore.

For one, I agree complete with Lindsay when she said in her review that the characters in this book were, in fact, rather flat and forgettable. For example, I don't even remember Rosie's brother's name. (I think it was Steve?) Although each character did have key traits to themselves, I feel that they lacked personalities. Toward the end, each character started to sound more and more like the same character trying to play dress up in some other character's shoes. It's an art to create 3D characters, but it's an art that a writer needs to master sometime in their writing career.

The other thing that I didn't like about this novel was the way that Logan was always touching Rosie's hand and shoulder. I understand a few of the scenarios when he touched her hand when she was sad and in her own world but some other instances were a bit annoying to me. It was like Logan always had to be touching Rosie (not in that way). I don't know. Maybe it's just me.

One last thing: Rosie had said a line to Logan that Alaska Young from Looking for Alaska had said to Pudge.

"To be continued," I say [to Logan]

I don't know. That just really annoyed me when I noticed it. Alaska had said that to Pudge, and I felt like it was such a momentous and ingenious line. I do realize that they're just words and that Doktorski probably unintentionally added that in, but it still bugged me a bit. It wasn't that big of a deal, but I'm a diehard John Green fan.

There are some other quotes that I want to put in before I end this review.

Then Logan does his lasso finger motion again. He's not going to be happy when I reach over and bend that backward. 

[Logan says,] "It's cute."
"What was that?" [Rosie asks.]
[Logan says,] "I said it makes me want to puke."

[Matty says,] "I'd be an extra-large zucchini. For obvious reasons." 
"Really. You see yourself walking around looking like a giant dick?" Logan asks. 

In conclusion, I just want to say that if you haven't read this book yet, go read it now before the summer ends! It's a perfect summer read, and I feel that since summer is coming to an end, summer reads are exactly what some of us need right now.

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