My favourite part of the YA genre isn’t the fantasy that seems to take up so much shelf-space, but the Contemporary Fiction. The books about regular teenagers who could be you or me (but with slightly more interesting lives). John Green’s books, of course, fall into this category, and so do books like Teenage Rewrite by Brandon Williams which I absolutely devoured last week.
Justin is seventeen, about to start his final year of high school, and if he was a straight female instead of bisexual male, he could be me. Take this quote from the beginning of the novel, for instance:
Some time in sixth grade my confidence ran away into the night and refused to come back…You know the phase I’m talking about? The one where you realise how awkward it is to interact with other people and not come across as a complete troll. Then, in a cruel twist of fate, you also become hyper-aware of how you look (crappy and ugly), what other people think of you (that you look crappy and ugly), and that you’re better off not talking to people at all so that they don’t have as much to make fun of.
That, right there, is a description of my life.
Teenage Rewrite follows Justin’s journey through his senior year, complete with new friends, new crushes, first loves, awkward families, and just generally getting the hang of growing up.
I think I enjoyed it so much (and read it in one sitting) because Justin is going through all the same things that I currently am. Unfortunately, I’m not falling head over heels for my first boyfriend (Augustus Waters, I’m waiting), but pretty much everything else that happens to Justin has happened to me in the last few months, or is about to happen to me in the next few months. He even hates the SAT with a passion I thought I uniquely held for my hatred of the HSC:
I’m convinced the SAT was designed to torture the weak and feeble…Let’s test them on obscure facts and useless details. They don’t get enough of that in their daily lives.
One of the things I love most about Justin, and the other characters in Teenage Rewrite is that they are so real. They’re not perfect, they’re not super-fictional, they act just like every other teenager I have come across (except slightly cooler and I want to be their best friend more than I want to be friends with most teenagers I encounter). The plot line is nothing amazing; there are no out of the blue crazy twists, it’s just life in your final year of high school.
Another quote I really liked was:
I didn’t necessarily like high school, but I didn’t hate it either. It just was. It existed.
It’s honestly like Brandon Williams has read my thoughts when writing this book. That, or my musings on being a teenager really aren’t as unique as I’d like to believe.
Teenage Rewrite is available for Kindle for just $2.99 so really, I guess I’m asking you why you haven’t bought it yet. It has laugh-out-loud moments, moments that make you think, and moments that make you realise that growing up really isn’t as scary as we sometimes like to think (and sometimes these three moments are really just one, really awesome moment).
If you’re into YA, into LGBT fiction/rights/etc, or even just looking for a fun new book to try, check it out. You won’t regret it.
An easy 4.5/5.
frangipani princess xoxo