Sunday, January 5, 2014

Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Published May 24, 2013 by Atom
Paperback, 387 pages
Borrowed from library

Jeane Smith and Michael Lee have absolutely no business being together. Jeane's a dork whose life only exists online with her 500 000 Twitter followers and Michael is a god at school, at home and basically everywhere. So when Michael approaches Jeane about their exes perhaps in a fling, Jeane shrugs him off. But try as she might, she can't get rid of him - he's popping up everywhere! And before she knows it, they're setting up dates to kiss. How did this happen...and how long will it last?

I love and hate Adorkable almost as much Michael and Jeane love and hate each other! Like for the most part, I thought Adorkable was a cute little romance but then Michael and Jeane would say something so utterly stupid that made me seriously wonder why I was still reading the book. I don't know, maybe it was Adorkable's cute Britishness because to be very honest, I think I would have hated this book if I didn't like it so much.

Doesn't think that make sense? Well then my dear, this book probably isn't for you because contradictions are basically what Adorkable lives on.

See, Jeane and Michael are complete opposites. Michael's hot and popular and gets all the action while Jeane is ugly and rude and mean and dorky whose only social life exists online. They meet after Michael suspects that his girlfriend and Jeane's boyfriend are in a little fling and confronts her about it. From the dual perspective, we find out that both's initial impression of the other is, well, general annoyance and dislike. But for some reason that is really shoddily explained, Michael kisses her. 

"Maybe I kissed Jeane because it made her shut the hell up. Or it might have been the easiest way to show her that I wasn't who she thought I was, that there might actually be some hidden depths to me after all. But I have a horrible feeling that I kissed her because I wanted to." (107)

That paragraph makes me want to burn this book. None of what Michael is saying make any sense! I'm not sure about kissing someone to make them shut up which could make sense if you guys are in love but with someone you hate that annoys the crap out of you? That is the LAST thing on earth I would do (or well, maybe the second to last thing) with the person I hate. Next kissing someone who you so obviously think is way under your league and totally not for you is not representative of your hidden depths. Maybe the first bit because I'm pretty sure you're too shallow to ever want to go for someone who isn't built like a model but SO not the second bit. And finally, I THOUGHT YOU HATED HER AND THOUGHT SHE WAS UGLY. How does that jump to kissing basically every spare minute you have?

And just when you're starting to believe that Michael and Jeane have finally learned to get along with each other despite their total difference in personality and character, it's HERE WE GO AGAIN with the hate which works out kind of like this:

Michael thinks Jeane is mean, rude, selfish, irritating and condescending which if I am very, very honest, she is. But he also thinks she's ugly and fat and a total hot mess and way too weird for him.

Jeane thinks Michael is self-absorbed, shallow, arrogant, cocky, jealous of her success, and so gross for buying mainstream clothes and not being a hip dork like her who gets her clothes from thrift stores. Which is kind of true too.

And yet they're still kissing and having sex regularly when it seems that they can't stand each other. Okay then.

No matter how much I hated Michael and Jeane as characters and together though, nothing peeved me more than Jeane's perception of dork. Jeane was all against judging people on who they are yet she did it ALL THE TIME. From judging Michael based on his Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to his hairstyle to basically everything anyone else did unless they fit under her very narrow definition of dork. Which is most likely a person who eats a lot of Haribo, loves Duckie, is socially shunned by everyone she/he knows in real life and buys clothes from thrift stores (and NEVER from Topshop, good lord).

Look, I can respect Jeane for what she's gone through which has obviously been tough. She's used to not relying on anyone but herself and that can for sure make someone feel very lonely and she's deemed totally weird and dorky by everyone at her school. And major kudos to her for reclaiming the word dork. But the fact is that what she thinks is dork is so narrow that she's really only celebrating herself through her lifestyle brand, Adorkable and shunning everyone else. Which is basically the same thing others have done to her. I mean, maybe she did it intentionally or not but regardless, this whole Adorkable brand really dragged this book into the dust.

I'm sure once upon a time that Manning had meant for Adorkable to send a really nice message about being yourself and not being ashamed of that but between the crap characters and the convoluted plot, somewhere along the road the book's message seemed to adopt more of a Jeane outlook on things which is probably because that was what this book spent the most time on. And as a person who isn't too big of a fan of Jeane, that's really not a great thing.

Okay but despite all this, I did actually enjoy this book. A lot of it was absolutely ridiculous and aggravating but there were also parts that I really liked and enjoyed and that had components of what I like in romances. When they weren't yapping each other's heads off, Michael and Jeane actually kind of worked and when I had gotten used to the kissing, I might have actually squealed once or twice. And you know what? I did actually see some character development on Jeane's part throughout this book which is never a bad thing.

Adorkable also had me flipping through the pages like crazy which I honestly haven't felt the want to do in so long. Something about Manning's writing was addictive and had me wanting for more. Given that her next characters aren't so annoying as Michael and Jeane, I would for sure read anything that Manning writes!

I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I liked half the time and absolutely despised the other half. I thought Michael and Jeane, despite giving me squeals a couple times, were absolutely horrid together because they couldn't appreciate each other and look past their own prejudice. And even though we're made to think that they're polar opposites, the truth is that they're both really similar: arrogant, condescending, shallow, and totally self-absorbed. I also disliked how Jeane perceived dork and thought that it sent a negative message. So while I may not have agreed with a lot of the things in this book, I did enjoy it. It was a very addictive and fast read with a romance that was cute sometimes.

fans of Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. You'd appreciate the Britishness and wackiness of this novel. If you're looking for romance with a bit more, this might be the book you're looking for. 

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