Like I promised yesterday, the very first ever White Pine Wednesday review is The Art of Getting Stared At.
Now, I won’t rehash the summary (watch the trailer!), but I will rehash my first impressions. When I read the summary, and saw the cover ….
… I think the cover is pretty and relevant (to the summary, at least). It doesn’t excite me, but it’s sending pretty, solid, contemporary vibes at me.
(Look at me, quoting myself :P)
And… I was on point.
There was nothing mind-blowing or life changing about this book, but there weren’t really any negative points to it. It was a light read, something I was in the mood for, and was satisfying overall. If there was one downside to it, it would be the main character’s hypocrisy and the too obvious preachy-ness.
You know, the ‘moral of the story’ peeve I mentioned? It was present. Thankfully, it wasn’t so bad I couldn’t enjoy the story. 😛 I actually would recommend this, either for a rainy day, or for a particular mood. I really enjoyed it, and it relieved a lot of stress (cuz exams 😥 )
From herein are spoilers, because as a contemporary novel, it’s really hard to talk about characters and events without giving things away. Skip to the end for some choice quotes!
The story line (idea and plotting) was solid in general. Something depressing/minor-ly sad (but not a John Green type sad thing) happens to the main character, she becomes what she thinks she hates most, realizes her hypocrisy and then gets the guy. It’s a formula that works, but gets sort of stale if not for the right characters.
And surprisingly the characters worked. Sloane was a tomboy (?) or an anti-girl-stereotype. She dislikes make up, doesn’t care how she looks, and makes her life easier by sticking to simple things. That makes her the polar opposite of her stepmom, a make-up artist, if I remember correctly. Sloane prides herself on not caring, and strangely enough, not being judgmental. All the while judging the girls who do care (and dropping a funny burqa joke now and then.) (Okay, it was only once, but I thought it was funny).
That was really hypocritical, but at the same time, it was accurate, because no teenager is perfect. Other than me, of course 😛 Her double standards allowed for some character development…so obviously, she learns the error of her ways, and sort of develops as a person. Personally, I found her to be very relatable, but I know her initial judginess grated on peoples nerves. She wasn’t the only character that developed… her mom and stepmom developed as Sloane’s initial view of them and their place in her life changed. There were some sweet family moments, as well as teen moments that I could relate to.
I enjoyed the romance, although it’s not how it looks in the summary. There is no torrid backstory, or exes, rather just Sloane’s natural wariness and snark showing through. I also loved how the love interest was a POC. I liked that they didn’t use the default, hot white guy trope. Male POCs can be hot too, YA novels! Isaac was also really sweet and I enjoyed their interactions. The romance did not overpower the story line, or Sloane’s struggle, something that I appreciated a lot. It was juuuust right.
Everything was satisfactorily tied up, and there were some really sweet moments at the end. Although this book might not go down as amazing, I really enjoyed it! There were also some really nice quotes:
I’ve been so worried about others’ judgments that I’ve paid no attention to my own.
Appearance is superficial but beauty goes deep. Beauty is the way we live our life, how we dress, even how we do our jobs. Beauty is a art. And with so much ugliness in the world, beauty is never wrong.
Beauty is doing the best we can with whatever situation we find ourselves in.
Pity is just another form of judgement.
The pale pillowslip is covered with curls and swirls of hair. It reminds me of a song Mom used to sing. Something about bows and flows of angel hair. And ice cream castles in the air. But this isn’t a song. That’s not angel hair. And I’m not a little girl dreaming of ice cream castles.
“You’ve never been a coward, Sloane. Don’t start now.”
She shoves the random collection of lashes and tubes and wigs into my hand. “Sometimes the most courageous thing we can do is ask for help.”
MY FAVOURITE QUOTES:
And somehow I felt I had to choose. Kim or Mom. Pretty or smart. I chose Mom. I chose smart. And I’ve stuck with it ever since.
Big disasters can start small. It’s true. A little hole can sink a big ship. A lone cell can leas to cancer. One lost hair can start a catastrophe that changes your life forever.
And a single slip can reveal a truth you’d rather hide.
But just as laughter can hide pain, disaster can hide opportunities. Not everybody on the Titanic died. Not all diseases kill you.
And not every guy who flirts or every girl who wears makeup is shallow.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
A good start to this reading challenge! Have a great day guys!