This is the story of how Paisley Hanover gets wise, gets bold, and gets into a hilarious mess of trouble. With a package as fresh and clever as Paisley herself— including a cool slipcase, a fabulous novel, and Paisley’s notebook of embarrassingly funny ideas and doodles—it’s the start of a series that embraces the “Un” in UnUsual."
My Review: As much as I love action/adventure books, fantasy, and thriller/suspense novels...I do, and will always, have a soft spot for girly YA books, chick-lit, whatever you want to call them---especially those that are really funny as well. Some of them can be disastrous but some of them can be amazing (Audrey, Wait! comes to mind). And upon seeing the cover and summary of this book, I had a feeling it would be a winner.
I was wrong.
I disliked this book immensely. One of the biggest things I hated about this book was the weird "teen slang" Cameron Tuttle tried to interject into the book. The characters used words, phrases, and slang that were not only horrible dorky and awkward but I'm pretty sure don't even actually exist in the real world. No one actually says "OMG" out loud that often un-ironically. And that wasn't even the worst of it---she had all sorts of slang that was cringe-worthy and super fake sounding. I can get behind weird teen slang if the author hints to the fact that the slang is supposed to be kind of exclusive and weird (by showing that other kids don't use it), such as the slang from the Clique series (ah, remember the days of the Clique series? Good times, good times). OR I can totally get behind using teen slang in a book if it's...you know, real teenage slang. Authors need to keep up with the times. Teenagers aren't saying "Oh my gushers," and "fabulicious" or whatever weird things Paisley was slinging out. They're saying "hella" and "ratchet" and stuff. And teenagers definitely don't walk around calling popular kids "pops" (oh my god, that made me cringe every time I read it). Paisley's slang and the diction for the whole book was jarring because it was so odd and it was supposed to be normal which made it even more obnoxious. I don't think I've ever even meet a TWEEN who talks like that. This was one reason her blog posts made no sense to me (not to mention they were kind of judgmental and one-sided; in her crusade to "be real", she ended up generalizing and demonizing a whole section of the student body so...).
So that was one huge issue I had. I could barely focus on the story when Paisley's way of talking and the language in general was so obnoxious.
The plot was weird too. I definitely like quirky and outgoing female characters in YA but this plot was just...all over the place. First Paisley's joining drama, then she's running for student president, then she's focusing on two different guys, then she's a secret blog writer (and honestly, if her ideas are what is considered "radical" at her school, then these kids needs to go out into the real world because her rants kind of sounded like a frustrated 12-year-old on too much caffeine), then she's having major friend drama... It was like the author was trying to fit multiple main plots into one book (which might explain why the book was so big) and kept ping-ponging all over the place. Also, none of it even made sense. None of the characters behaved rationally. One day her friends are being evil jerks to her and doing terrible things, the next they're not even apologizing to her but asking favors of her---and Paisley's just going with it? And then there's this jock who's a huge jerk and tries to run against Paisley for student president...but he---SPOILER---gives up so randomly and easily? What?
Paisley herself was very odd. It was almost like the author couldn't decide who she wanted her to be. She was popular and friendly---but then she made fun of a lot of people in her mind and was randomly judgmental and made the silliest decisions and had the weirdest ideas...
I don't know. This book was not my cup of tea. I found it somewhat ridiculous and nonsensical, and not really in the good way. I think it would have been better if the language, plot, and Paisley had all been toned down a bit because reading this book felt like playing with a manic hyperactive puppy for two hours. I walked away feeling a bit like, What did I even just read? Will not be reading the sequel. Sorry, Paisley Hanover, but this was just unFun.
Cover: Even though her hat is kind of lame, it's bright and fun so I did like it at first. It definitely made me pick the book up. Now I wish I'd put the book back down.
Overall Grade: D-