Friday, May 1, 2009

A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian

I almost fell asleep writing this review because the thought of the book had the same effect as a big turkey dinner. I would’ve, too, but I was too busy bitching to Twitter and Taren about it.

It doesn’t help at all that I’m not feeling articulate today. This blows.

A Little Friendly Advice opens with the protagonist Ruby’s sixteenth birthday party, her mom getting her The Most Magical Gift, her friends being there, and her dad showing up unannounced, flowers in hand, when neither of them--not Ruby nor her mother--have seen him in a good six years. Nothing ruins a party like a good dose of douchebaggery a la Papa.

And I know I’m making it sound like a Mexican soap opera (“Papi! Ay Dios mio!”), but oh well.

Anyway, Ruby throws the flowers on the floor and flees the scene diva-style. Although best friend extraordinaire Beth (who helped Ruby back on her feet after Daddy Dearest left) tells her to shrug it off and not get sucked in that black hole again, Ruby can’t let it go this time. Why’s he there? She must know. In that week that follows, she stumbles upon some evidence that forces her to do a little soul searching. Like, how loyal is Beth really? And what really happened with her parents?

It’s not that this is a bad book, really, it’s more the fact that it’s nothing to write home about. It starts at a glacial pace, which, considering there’s a total of 240 small pages to the story, kind of sucks. And while I did feel bad for Ruby for her messed up sixteenth birthday (there will be hell to pay if mine is anything like this come June), her story is nothing I haven’t read before, which made it feel interchangeable.

Which isn’t ever good.

If only I’d known there would be some big, bad reveal about her past. I would’ve been more inclined to like it because it’d mean a differential down the line. Why wasn’t this stressed in the synopsis? Or at least hinted at? This is what I mean by how ending with a bang can spruce up an otherwise “meh” book and up the market value.

I would feel bad for closing this off without any explicit compliments, so let me just say that I liked how Ms Vivian handled friendship. It felt true.

Anyway, this is a C+. The ending was a salvation, but alas, I don’t feel 40 pages’ worth of good scenes make up for 200 pages of dawdling. Maybe you’ll enjoy it more than I did, knowing it indeed does Go Somewhere.

Push (Scholastic) | 256 pages | March 1st, 2008 | Author Site | GoodReads | Amazon

* There were other things I took issue with, like how I didn’t think Charlie’s character, however adorable, was--whatchamacallit--useless. But maybe his message was lost to me.


ReaderGirl said...

Ahw I'm sorry it wasn't your favorite. =/ I think your review was good though XD Dispite your sleepinesss. Good job, and hopefully you'll like your next book better! XP

Simply_Megan said...

Those meh books really suck. But I love the cover!

Amee said...

Hmmm...I hear Same Differences by the same author is really good. :)

Unknown said...

It takes a lot of talent to make what seems like a boring book sound interesting.

Ai Papi!

Liv said...

Aw, this makes me sad. I love Siobhan Vivian and I love this book. But alas, to each their own. :)

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