The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I gotta admit, this one disappointed me just a bit, but that was probably hype damage more than anything else.
Near-constant film references are always a plus, and this book, through Quinn's narration, delivers there. Sure, he tends to sometimes get a bit pretentious, knocking on the sort of "big-budget CGI cheese-fests" that are my bread and butter, but it's all good, because even having not seen some of the classics he name-drops, I still understand the references because of pop-cultural osmosis.
In terms of characters, however, Federle gets a bit erratic, giving us a few more misses than hits. Geoff, for instance, is a fave of mine, much more so than Quinn - because witty he may be, but he's often so self-centered that it grates on my nerves. And I'm not really a fan of Amir, for some reason. I think he's a little too "perfect," and he feels surprisingly underwritten, particularly in comparison to Geoff's pop-off-the-page personality and Quinn's traumas and guilt.
On the other hand, as someone who writes books with the explicit goal of getting them published and adapted as movies (big-budget CGI-fests too!), it was fun to see Quinn occasionally imagine the screenplay of his own life, as well as the lives of those around him. That, I could relate to.
It's a nice bite-sized piece of YA lit for film buffs, but it didn't quite live up to its potential for me.
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