Monday, 23 March 2015

DNF Review: How to Win at High School (AKA: How to be a Dick in High School)

How to Win at High School How to be a Dick in High School
Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

Using Scarface as his guide to life, Adam Higgs is going from zero to high school hero.

Adam Higgs is a loser, and he’s not okay with it.

But starting as a junior in a new high school seems like exactly the right time to change things. He brainstorms with his best friend, Brian: What will it take for him to take over Nixon Collegiate?

Adam searches for the A-listers’ weak spot and strikes gold when he gets queen bee Sara Bryant to pay him for doing her physics homework. One part nerd, two parts badass, Adam ditches his legit job and turns to full-time cheating. His clients? All the Nixon Collegiate gods and goddesses.

But soon his homework business becomes a booze business, which becomes a fake ID business. Adam’s popularity soars as he unlocks high school achievements left and right, from his first kiss to his first rebound hookup. But something else is haunting him—a dark memory from his past, driving him to keep climbing. What is it? And will he go too far?

How to Win at High School’s honest portrayal of high school hierarchy is paired with an adrenaline-charged narrative and an over-the-top story line, creating a book that will appeal to guys, girls, and reluctant readers of every stripe. Adam’s rocket ride to the top of the social order and subsequent flameout is both emotionally resonant and laugh-out-loud funny

Oh, How to Win at High School, should be appropriately renamed How to Be a Dick in High School. I will keep this unusually short for my ranting reviews, unlike this book, have you seen how many pages it has?  It wouldn't have been so annoying if it had been productive and given character development, or, you know, actually gave it some, you know, what's that thing books have? Oh yeah, a story to tell. A plot. Both were rather none existent.

There are a lot of reasons why this didn't work for me, the way it was written, the way the perspective was written, next to nothing idea of what the point of How to Win at High School is,  but the two major "de-selling" points. Here's a story about a girl boy named Lucky Pizza Man.

1. Superficial

I don't mind a little bit of superficial, we're all superficial at times, we're human. But, this book is superficial to the max, as in, How to Win at High School is solely about a 'loser' wanting to become popular. Or if you ask Adam, his rightful place if a popular classmate's brother hadn't had a hand in his brothers paralysis. That's it. Literally.

It wouldn't have been so bad if...and here's my second reason.

2.  Unlikeable, completely moronic, douche bag (as Adam repeatedly uses to describe said popular classmate) main character.

You may think I'm being a little harsh, didn't we all want to be popular? Weren't we all like that in high school? Maybe, sure. We've all read our fair share of unlikeable MC's, but Adam is a breed of his own. I've mentioned said classmate who's brother was responsible for Adam's brother, Sam's paralysis a few times? Well, it's an important part of the story, and actually, the only important part of the story. Adam's pissed at said classmate, and I keep calling him said classmate because I honestly can't remember his name, by association. And I thought, hey, I can work with this, and it was the only time Adam expressed any emotion than self pity. But of course, he's not pissed because of said classmates (etc etc), no, he's pissed because said classmates brother took away Adam's rightful popularity status he would have gotten by basking in Sam's popularity for being his brother.
Yes, really.

Then How to Win at High School had a random insta-love romance that made no sense, and  unbelievable 'schemes', how anyone 1) didn't realise who it was and 2) teachers didn't see right through it, is beyond me. Then shit got really weird with a drugged out threesome, and for YA, I don't approver, but not for the reason you think. Drugged threesome. Have a threesome all you want, characters, but drugged? Sorry, no.  So I was so out of there at 65%, over and out Lucky Pizza Man.