What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Monday, December 17, 2012

Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer

I didn't just read this because Chris Colfer from Glee was the author. Actually, I didn't read it at all, I listened to the audiobook. (That was a choice made because he was the narrator - I can't help it, Kurt is my favorite!) But after seeing the movie trailer and reading the summary, I knew I wanted to read this one.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips, who blackmails the most popular students in his school into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker. At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck By Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school. At a time when bullying torments so many young people today, this unique and important novel sheds light with humor and wit on an issue that deeply resonates with countless teens and readers.

What I Liked: 1) I loved the style in which it was written. Because it is a journal, we are hearing it read aloud from Carson's journal after everything happened. So not only are we hearing what went on during the day, but Carson gets to add his own commentary, and think about what went on and what he did or could have done differently. It's a rare thing to find in books, at least among the books I read, and I really enjoyed that voice. 2) The humor. I found myself laughing out loud at many parts of this story, and going back and repeating some of the funnier parts to other people. For a story that has a rather dramatic twist, the humor breaks up the monotony and hardships that Carson is experiencing throughout his senior year of high school. This alone is reason enough to read Struck by Lightening. 3) Malerie. Carson's...best friend. I say that hesitantly because Carson really acts as if he has no friends, yet Malerie is by his side pretty much every step of the way. Knowing that Rebel Wilson plays this role in the movie makes it even better. It was really easy to picture her doing and saying some of the things that Malerie says in the book. 4) This is the first and probably only time I'll ever say this: The Unreliable Narrator. How much stock can you put in a journal? Do you think he doesn't add his own embellishments in his journal? Or remember things the way he wanted to remember them? But it made the story seem all the more real, just knowing that we were only getting a skewed version of the story. I'll likely never say that again, but it worked in this instance.

What I Didn't Like: Okay, who actually curses that much? Especially in a journal? I know that people use curse words, but isn't the whole point kind of to make a point? Like, you feel so strongly about something that regular words just won't do? I personally would prefer no cursing in books, but that's probably never going to happen. But why did he have to use it as often as he did in his journal? For a kid who was as smart as he was, I think it was unnecessary, and untrue to who his character was. Hey Carson, you want to be a writer? You need a stronger vocabulary.

 Overall Thoughts: Struck by Lightning is one of those books that everyone should read once. There was a great message (no, not the one about blackmailing your peers), but about making the best out of life no matter what its thrown at you. The comedic relief was awesome, and the ending was heartbreaking. If you are bothered by curse words, you should be prepared for a lot, but if that isn't something that is an issue, then don't worry. Chris Colfer's first foray into young adult fiction is a success, and I can't wait to see it on the big screen!

My Rating: 4 shots

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