My sister and I have very similar taste in books, and we share quite a bit — especially memoirs by funny chicks and YA. In fact, she’s on CBR this year, so you’ll probably notice that we review many of the same books. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one, however, because she loved it, and I couldn’t get past my desire to throw the narrator through a plate-glass window.
Sutter Keely is a high school student in Oklahoma who calls himself “master of the party”. He drives around with whisky and 7-Up in a Big Gulp cup and smokes pot with his friends. His girlfriend dumps him, so he selects a nerdy outcast named Aimee as his “project”, with the totally legit belief that he will help this girl finally have some fun. She, of course, falls in love with him and he basically wrecks her life.
Here’s my issue. My sister claims that since Sutter is an anti-hero, that I’m not supposed to like him. And she’s right. But I don’t think that young girls should be reading shit like this, because he’s still represented as a sympathetic character. It’s like Twilight encouraging girls to fall for shitheads like Edward Cullen. He’s toxic. Just because he constantly declares that he’s no good for the girl (and he’s right), doesn’t mean that some poor girl isn’t going to lose her heart over him, trying to fix him.
Maybe I’m getting too old for YA. I did feel like yelling at these kids to get off my lawn. I have trouble reading from the perspective of the teenagers in this novel. Instead, I worry that my kids are going to grow up to be them. I did have some serious Bret Easton Ellis flashbacks while reading this, too — not due to the writing style (Tharp’s narration is actually pretty good) but because of the general bacchanalia and lack of consequences these kids enjoyed.