And I’m pretty bummed about it. I wanted to like it. I liked the first half, in which nerd genius Laurence and young witch Patricia meet in middle school and become half-assed friends. I liked its many, many beautiful lines. I liked young Patricia and to a small degree, adult Patricia. I liked that it was a book by a trans woman that got mainstream attention without her trans-ness being the reason. I liked the cover art. I liked that a nonbinary character who used they/them pronouns was included in a very matter of fact way. I loved enthusiastically picturing Mr. Rose as Trent from Crazy Ex Girlfriend throughout the entire book, I think because he was described as having some freaky-ass cheekbones.
Sadly, there was a lot more that I didn’t like, such as the weird, detached hipster vibe that absolutely took over the latter half. Characters were flippant and brief about things that didn’t feel natural. Side characters seemed to have been generated using a quirky trait generator until they were absolutely indistinguishable, and those walking collections of quirks took up a lot of space in the latter half of the book, so I really had time to get irritated about it. And yeah, I didn’t get a lot of it. Which I think was at least not unanticipated by Anders, since in the notes at the end she says that if you don’t get it, let her know and she’ll come to your house and act it out with origami. Frankly, that sounds like a pretty good time. Charlie Jane Anders, are you listening? Let me know when you’ll be here, I’ll make mimosas.