I give it 2 stars so far
My review on the first 16 chapters of the book, Courtland’s Life:
The opening was shocking. A couple, the wife pregnant, was in a car wreck, causing the protagonist’s mother to go into labor. After that, it was pretty crappy for awhile. (get it? Crappy? Because diapers..)
Chapter 2 was just terrible. (Terrible twos? Anyone? That also makes TWO terrible jokes…)
The first several chapters of this book were horribly boring, I don’t even remember much before chapter four.
Although as a whole, the first 10 chapters or so didn’t carry much excitement, there were little happenings that kept me reading. For example, in the fifth chapter, the protagonist (who we have now learned to be named Courtland) is sitting at his Kindergarten class waiting for his mother to pick him up, when he poops his pants. This is pretty funny in itself, but it gets better: Courtland has a crush on a girl, who he is sitting by when he poops his pants. The girl moves when it happens, but he follows her. At least three times. This is nice use of foreshadowing as to what is to come, and what is to come is a very painful couple of chapters: Chapters 12 and 13.
I’d hate to skip 7 chapters like this, but nothing particularly interesting happened between chapters 5 and 12. Not entirely sure why I kept reading, to be honest, but I did. Chapter 12 was very interesting. This was when Courtland started to REALLY get into girls. Courtland also became a pretty major attention-seeker around this time, often pretending to cry in class in order to get attention. A risky move from the author, if you ask me, but it definitely serves to develop some tension in later chapters, by estranging his peers. He also liked to pretend to be asleep at his desk, and moan/hump as if having a wet dream. I feel that the author took it a bit too far with that one. But it got him a great place to have his peers think he was really odd, which was obviously his goal.
Courtland also developed his first major crush in chapter 12, which is where the fun really began. You know how sometimes, tv shows or movies with have a stereotypical “super creep?” Well, Courtland was that, but 12 years old. He would always stare at her, sing her love songs, tell her how much he loves her– and he didn’t even know her! (I’m a few pages into chapter 17, 5 chapters later, and these troubles have only gotten a lot better: They’re definitely still there.) He even used his birthday money to buy her a $100 ring, which was just painful to read. Chapter 12 was when I started questioning how much I REALLY wanted to continue reading, but that wouldn’t become prominent until chapters 14 and 15.
To begin chapter 13, Courtland moved across the country. My initial thought was “Good! A fresh start, this is how the whole ‘everyone thinks he’s a f**king dork’ thing will be resolved!” Oh, how wrong I was. He had a better idea of how “not creeping girls out” works, but he was still of the opinion that girls like it when less-than-attractive guys stare at them, which contributed greatly to his new peers still thinking he was a major dork. That, and him still being a major dork. At this point in the book, readers have not been enlightened as to what makes him such a weirdo. But he’s started to notice it as the case, so he should soon start to figure out why, an fix it, right? Wrong. After he figures out that staring is bad, he moves on to posting about eight statuses a day to Facebook about his crush, referring to his crush as “she.” Very painful to read, but Courtland is only slightly aware that this is inappropriate behavior at this point in time.
Now we get to chapter 14! Courtland is now in high school, and things are no better for him socially. He has stopped doing all the super weird stuff, to very little, if any, benefit. This is where the urge to stop reading really became severe; but I didn’t, because people kept reassuring me that the book would get better. His social life pretty much stagnates for the next couple of chapters, but he does get his first girlfriend and first kiss at the beginning of chapter 15!
This relationship ends after two months, and the book starts to get painful to read again, without anything worth reading happening, leading me to become tempted to stop reading very often for the rest of chapter 15, and almost all of chapter 16.
I recently started chapter 17, and its really starting to look like it’ll be worth reading again pretty soon. After therapy and antidepressants, Courtland has started to gain..some..confidence, he finally has a good friend, and the book isn’t focusing nearly as much on his situation with girls.
Overall, I give it 2 out of 5 stars so far, but I haven’t finished reading yet, and it definitely has the potential to become a 5 star book.