Monday, April 15, 2019

ARC Review: How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom by S.J. Goslee

How Not to Ask a Boy to Prom
Nolan Grant is sixteen, gay, and (definitely) still a virgin. He's never had a boyfriend, or even been kissed. It's not like Penn Valley is brimming with prospects. And when his big sister stages an elaborate “prom-posal” so Nolan can ask out his not-so-secret crush, Nolan freezes. He's saved from further embarrassment by bad boy Bern, who, for his own reasons, offers to fake-date Nolan. 

Nolan thinks it's the perfect way to get Daphne off his back and spend the rest of the year drawing narwhals, tending to plants, and avoiding whatever died under his bed a few weeks ago. What he doesn't think about is Bern's ex-girlfriend, who seriously wants to kill him.

Todd's rating:

Funny, frustrating story was funnily frustrating.

This book had a lot of humor, but read almost like some sort of "stream of consciousness" story, where the MC, Nolan (aka "Grant") just stumbled aimlessly through his days, with the reader playing witness to his odd, awkward, artistic nerdiness.

And while a lot of the situations had me smiling, I also found myself thinking, "OMG, *where* is this story going, and *when* is it going to gain some focus and actually *get* there?"

The frustration for me arose mainly from neither MC actually showing their emotional poker hand, not divulging any actual feelings -- even to themselves (or the reader) -- until the very last few freaking chapters.

Honestly, there were very few clues as to whether previously-straight Bern was still attempting to get back with his ex-girlfriend, Gia, and only using Nolan's prom-posal as a vehicle to make her jealous.

And Nolan kept waffling between having attractions for both Bern and Si, taking an extremely long time before even letting himself ponder his true feelings.

This uncertainty made me C-R-A-Z-Y.

Even with only a few chapters remaining, I couldn't decide if even *I* wanted the MC's to get together, or for Bern to go back to Gia, and Si to confess his feelings for Nolan.

Shouldn't I have been rooting for the *main* MC's by this point? Spoiler: The answer is *YES*.

Très confusing. And I found that lack of clarity of feelings pretty annoying. :- /

Was it quirky and did it make me laugh? Yes.

Was it full of feels and romance? Ehhh.

Did it just sort of meander along, instead of feeling like the story was working its way to a pre-determined, inevitable conclusion, taking anything other than even a semi-direct path? Oh, hell yeah.

So this 3.5 star book *kinda* worked for me (eccentric humor), but also *kinda* didn't (loosely-defined, low-feels romance).

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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