Published by Roaring Brook Press on August 2nd 2016
Genres: young adult, lgbtqia, contemporary
Buy on Amazon
Hilarity ensues when a slacker teen boy discovers he's gay, in this unforgettably funny YA debut.
Mike Tate is a normal dude. He and his friends have a crappy band (an excuse to drink cheap beer and rock out to the Lemonheads) and hang out in parking lots doing stupid board tricks. But when Mike's girlfriend Lisa, who knows him better than he does, breaks up with him, he realizes he's about to have a major epiphany that will blow his mind. And worse--he gets elected to homecoming court.
It's like the apocalypse came, only instead of nuclear bombs and zombies, Mike gets school participation, gay thoughts, and mother-effin' cheerleaders.
With the free spirit of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the raw voice of Winger, and characters reminiscent of Freaks & Geeks, this debut YA offers a standout voice and a fresh, modern take on the coming-out story.
I gotta be honest, I didn’t actually like Whatever that much. I wanted to like it more than anything, but the writing style really bugged me. I continued to read on because I liked where the book was going and I really appreciated that it was so gay positive and sex positive. I’m interjecting here to say that part of the plot was truly great, and if the characters had only been developed with a bit more depth, I would have enjoyed this book so much.
I think the main issue with the execution was that it was written in third person limited point of view. Because the voice was so unique, because we were meant to get super close to the protagonist, it felt like a really odd choice. First person point of view would have worked better. It just came off kind of stilted to me, things were awkwardly worded, and it kept me at a distance from the character.
The other thing that was really weird? There were a lot of characters. About four supporting male characters, two female characters, and none of them were developed with too much depth so they were all faces with names that I never really got to know. I can’t say whether I liked or disliked them because they were just there in the background. The protagonist was Mike, and Mike was pretty much a dickhead. He talks about how he was bullied badly by Wallace and JJ, but because it happens in the past, we are once again kept at a distance from Mike and his character development. Then sadly, when Mike treats Wallace and JJ like garbage, I don’t have a lot of empathy for Mike and his outbursts, even if they are warranted. I just felt bad for Wallace. Because Mike doesn’t deserve Wallace, in my eyes. He jerked him around on a chain and treated him so poorly. And I could totally FEEL Wallace’s hurt, but I didn’t honestly give a shit about Mike and I am pretty sure this was not intended by the author. So…poor execution, maybe?
But like I said earlier, I really appreciated the gay positive, sex positive story. Because there is gay sex in this book, and it’s handled the way it should be. Awkward, fumbling, but realistic and sweet. The technical aspects of this book need work, because a lot of the writing made my eyes glaze over. But I did like Wallace, though I would have liked to know more of him. Didn’t like Mike at all, and I’m pretty sure I was supposed to. I didn’t feel like I knew any of the other characters so I can’t say whether I liked or disliked them.
In the end: