I graduated university about five months ago. The funny thing about university is how it takes away your love of recreational reading. I mean, it’s tough to find time to read a new book when you have textbook chapters, class readings, and boring ass research studies you have to scan through.
I didn’t read a lot during my four years, I didn’t have the energy. Halfway through, I did manage to finish a few fiction books, but it was a pretty abysmal rate. I usually read well while traveling – be it by car, bus, or place – but I only had one vacation during those four years. My point being, I couldn’t get into the zone, so I had a huge backlog of books.
I probably picked up this novel in 2013, and it’s been hanging on my shelf since. I try to read my books in the order I purchase them in to not buy more. This has fallen out of practice, because a lot of books from when I was 15/16 are still around and I would rather not return to them since they no longer interest me. But, because I’m a little low on cash, I’ve been going through my library and this is the one I pulled.
I read for 30min to 1hr just before I go to bed, since they say you shouldn’t look at screens before you sleep. This is how I managed to get through Inferno and how I finished No One Else Can Have You in about a week.
NOECHY is classic young adult shlock. Our MC Kippy Bushman is a loner girl type with only one close friend. She’s not very popular but is still pretty – if only she wasn’t so awkward!! *barf*
The story opens with Kippy’s bff Ruth getting murdered. I’d say this is the only interesting thing about the story, how Ruth was murdered. She was hung from a tree in a cornfield and was made to look like a scarecrow. I’ll call that original. Probably the only compliment I’ll give this piece of shit.
Throughout the rest of the story it’s Kippy trying to solve her best friend’s murder. Luckily she’s in a town of less than 700 so no one really cares that an underage kid is screwing around with crime scenes because HEY, that dang local sheriff is too stupid and uptight to listen to our MC. If only Kippy wasn’t so awkward and more popular – then maybe people would believe her!! *barf*
There are three main things that make me want to burn this book and probably attest to why I can no longer stand young adult novels.
One, I’m fucking sick of contrived romances
An “important,” character in NOECHY is Davey, Ruth’s brother. He’s 21, five years older than Kippy, and was discharged from the military because he shot off his own finger. He’s introduced at Ruth’s funeral, and becomes involved in the story 1) as a love interest and 2) because he doesn’t believe the arrested culprit is the true killer.
Kippy, being the contrived, unnatural character that she is, is attracted to Davey. BUT she feels so awkward around him, he’s so good looking, but he’s still Ruth’s brother! If only she wasn’t so awkward, maybe she could talk to him normally!! *barf*
Yeah, I have a huge problem with Kippy because I genuinely believe a person like her would never exist. Like, I know weird shit happens in small towns – I’m from one myself – but she is just built to be awkward for the sake of the story. Her only defining attitude outside of the archetype is that she used to be aggressive as a child, and I found some gratification in her beating up the local prep cheerleader character, but otherwise I didn’t like her at all.
Anyway, about two-thirds through the story Kippy and Davey are having an emotional talk about death and the killer and whatever. Davey is drinking beer, Kippy is trying to make him stop, and some TERRIBLE writing leads to them kiss. I don’t mean that subjectively, I mean the author Kathleen Hale wrote bad, difficult to understand sentences that resulted in the two kissing. I swear if the phrase ‘straddle his lap’ wasn’t used I’d have no idea what was happening.
I don’t believe this romance for a second. It’s just so contrived and desperate. I guess university aged guys like high school girls? That’s a thing right?
The worst part is that it doesn’t come out of no where. It’s the most obvious, projected romance I’ve seen in a long time. At least Inferno had the decency to not end with a couple, but that was a real novel. BECAUSE IN YOUNG ADULT NOVELS you gotta cater and pander your audience. Because I’m a sensitive loner girl, and I really identify with this protagonist. If she can get such a hot guy for a boyfriend, that means I still have hope! *barf*
Two, I hate the dad character just so much
I’m not sure if this is an American mindset thing, or the author is poking fun, or a strange mix of both, but the dad character, Dom, is the most annoying, unredeeming fictional father I’ve seen in YA. He’s this metrosexual middle school counsellor who emphasizes feelings and emotions, and is totally okay with Kippy leaving her bras around, but still gets weird around boys and puberty??
I really hope the author was making fun, because it’s just such a poor depiction of what I think was meant to be a ‘dad is mom too’ character. Yeah, Kippy’s mom is dead in the story which I think results in character development? Thinking back, it’s kinda dropped at the eleventh hour.
He’s just a shitty dad in the sense he’s incredibly frustrating. He also commits her to an outdated psychiatric ward without her consent. IMO a good dad would believe his daughter or maybe at least try to get her help BEFORE jumping the gun.
And worst of all, Kippy doesn’t even say “I told you so” at the end. Like, it was exactly as she said, she was right, her father was a total idiot throughout the story. I mean, if you’re family I think it’s completely fine to rub shit in someone’s face. But whatever, Kippy’s a NICE GIRL who’s an awkward loner and even though her father tries he can never understand her bit she still loves him for trying!! *barf*
Third and last, the use of psychology is stupid
This issue I 100% attribute to American culture. There’s this weird, deep-rooted thinking that psychology is all BS and electrotherapy is a cure-all. Yeah, even though this book was published in 2013(2014?) and it features cellphones so I’m assuming it takes place in 2013/2014, the mental hospital featured still uses electroshock therapy as a threat.
Like, they talk about how it’ll be used if someone is out of line. That’s just so dumb and 1960s. Any legit treatment for a mental disorder would be discussed thoroughly with your physician.
It just frustrates me because I studied psychology and clinical psychology. I am no expert, but I’m clearly more knowledgeable than the author. Did she do research? Or did she just exaggerate for the climax of the story? Probably the latter.
I won’t even bother to go into it because the time in the mental hospital is maybe 3 chapters? Truly it’s just a tool to build a shitty climax.
I would maybe recommend this to like, a 12 year old girl who’s into reading. That’s clearly who this book is targeted to. Otherwise, it’s a waste in any library.