Author: Paige Crutcher
Release Date: November 4
Source: JKSCommunications on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Buy this book at: Smashwords (it’s the only place I could find that’s selling it)
Meet Odd. Audrey “Odd” Ashworth is an exceptionally bright girl with a sympathetic heart. She’s in the top 4% of her class. She’s obsessed with getting into Manhattan School of Music, committed to following the “signs” the universe delivers, and infatuated with her recently deceased best friend’s boyfriend.
Life is a little strange for Odd.
Until she finds her best friend’s diary in her crush’s car, and decides to do the bucket list tucked inside the pages. As Odd seeks closure and a way to honor her friend, she discovers there’s nothing wrong with being a little strange, especially if it helps you discover who you were meant to be. Along the way, Odd falls into trouble, adventure, and finally love. (Source: Goodreads)
Audrey wants to complete her deceased best friends bucket list as a sort of tribute to her friends live. While she completes the list though she begins to seriously screw up her own life and all of her friendships. The list seems to mostly be about getting noticed, and Audrey certainly gets noticed, but maybe not for the right reasons.
I enjoyed this book. It was a quick and easy read, it was funny, and at some points laugh out loud funny. I found the plot confusing and lacking clear motivation. The characters were fun, at times funny, but also lacked some depth and almost always lacked clear motivation. This one is probably another book were all the pieces are there but they failed to meet the potential they have.
I liked Audrey. I definitely understood the struggles she had regarding university. I think this kind of situation where a parents and child disagree about university choices is one that a lot of people can connect with. I also found that her struggle to continue playing the piano after Meredith’s death was part of the grieving process and I thought that was probably one of the better developments in her character. Her motivations to do the bucket list on the other hand were very unclear and poorly developed. Even when you get the reason, she blames herself for Meredith’s death, that doesn’t really make it any clearer why she’s doing this, or why she’s going about it the way she does, which is badly.
Meredith’s friends actions are also similarly unclear. I found the relationship between Penny and Leo uncomfortable and hard to understand. I get that they’re supposed to be on-again off-again but that was really badly written in my opinion. I didn’t get what was going on with them pretty much the whole book. Sage’s family story is good, but really disappears into the background after a while. It kind of felt like there were too many friends for any of them to be developed very well.
There are two love interests, Chase and Bandit. Chase is more of a “bad-boy”. He is Meredith’s ex-boyfriend. He has similar feelings of guilt over Meredith’s death which are meant to be his motivation but are also really unclear. Bandit is more of a “bad-boy-that’s-really-a-good-boy”. He is overprotective of Audrey, which means he’s basically the voice of reason in this book when everyone else is just going off doing random stuff that makes no sense. I definitely prefered Bandit right off the bat because Chase is so obviously a bad choice. It’s really easy to get into the Bandit-Audrey love story which makes the book an easy read, even if there is a lot of that high school melodrama written into it.
The plot, as I’ve mentioned, lacks a lot of clear motivation. I think the thing with all of these lacking points of motivation in the plot and characters is that the motivation is there but it takes sort of a leap to actually see how any of this stuff connects. Doing the bucket list didn’t make any sense at all, especially as it was clearly a bad choice, and had clearly messed up Meredith’s life already. I didn’t buy that it was because Audrey thought she was responsible for Meredith’s death, I also just didn’t get why she thought she was responsible for the death at all. A lot of the stuff Audrey does in trying to complete the bucket list is just clearly a bad idea and, even to someone who has barely been introduced to her, out of character which just makes you stop every once in a while and think…why is this happening?
The highlight of the book to me was honestly a portion of the book where Audrey accidentally takes acid. It’s really funny. It’s also written well to erase the idea that drugs are funny, because immediately after this funny part it shows the very serious consequences of taking acid, which are really bad. While I thought it was funny, I also kind of wondered if the acid scene was included just so Crutcher would have an excuse to write nonsense and call it “profound” because that’s basically what happens.
Overall I found the book enjoyable. It was well-written in terms of the prose so it was so easy and quick to read. The only problem I had in terms of language use was sometimes I felt like “people don’t talk like this”, but that was a small thing. The real problems were in the unclear or lacking motivation which just led to a lot of lost potential. I still enjoyed the book but I’m a little hesitant to recommend it because of the problems. I still think it’s worth a shot.