Author: Linas Alsenas
Publication Date: August 18th 2015
Publisher: Amulet Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
Marty Sullivan’s life ends, basically, when her parents enroll her in a private high school. A private, Catholic, girls-only high school. Meanwhile, at their local public school, her best friend, Jimmy, comes out of the closet and finds himself a boyfriend and a new group of friends. Marty feels left out and alone, until she gets a part in the school musical, Into the Woods, and Jimmy and his new crew are in it, too! Things start looking even better when Marty falls for foxy fellow cast member Felix Peroni. And Felix seems to like her back. But the drama is just beginning. Can Marty and Jimmy keep up their friendship? And is Marty’s new beau everything he appears to be? Or is Marty too clueless to figure it all out before it’s too late?
Beyond Clueless is very appropriately named. Seriously. Very. Appropriately. Named. Why? Because our main character, Marty is very, well, clueless. (Oh, don't look at me like that, you knew that was coming.) And she's clueless in a lot of ways, and naivety is definitely one of them, one where somebody can take advantage of that. But the two main ways, the misunderstanding is understandable, I mean, you would just assume, but the other way? I kind of wanted to shake her and get her to open her eyes.
There's not a lot of depth to the characters in Beyond Clueless, which was what was really missing for me, don't get me wrong, they're fun and easy to relate to, but they felt 2D and just on paper. Marty, as I said is clueless, but she's young, and she's a character that wants everything now so misses what's in front of her face, but as I said, she's relatable, she's going to a new school, away from her best (and only) friend, and she has a hard time making friends, but she realises it's not as hard as she was making it out to be and easily makes a friend in Xiang. Simon, the best friend, is gay, and is a little stereotypical, but the scene where he comes out to Marty is hilarious. You don't really get to know the co-characters as much, which was a shame because they're a fun bunch, if somewhat boring. And by that I mean, together they're all fun, separate, they fade into the background.
I loved what Beyond Clueless represented, and at its core is about friendship and being yourself, and not what other people expect you to be, and It's about friendship growing apart at a time and being okay with that, and how you make your way back to each other. And, really, it should be under misunderstandings in the dictionary because holy crap, what a misunderstanding. Its cringe worthy when I look back on it, but it shows you how far a misunderstanding can go.
What I also loved about Clueless, no Parents-in-YA-Syndrome (It's definitely catching on Shannon.), it's a good dynamic and they have a good relationship, not perfect, they have their arguments and everything, but it's a normal and realistic relationship.