Tuesday, 10 September 2013

REVIEW: 4 to 16 Characters by Kelly Hourihan

Title: 4 to 16 Characters

Author: Kelly Hourihan

Pages: 314

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all. Jane’s life has collapsed in the last few years; following the death of her mother, her father turned to drinking, and Jane is reeling from the double blow. To escape, Jane devises a number of online personas, each with a distinct personality, life history, and set of friends. But things become trickier when she finds herself drawing close to some of her online friends, and winds up struggling with the question of how to maintain a real friendship while masquerading as a fake person. With the help of Gary, a socially awkward classmate and competitive Skeeball player who is Jane’s only offline friend, and Nora, her therapist, Jane begins to sift through her issues. The only catch is that that involves taking a long, hard look at what her life’s like when the computer is shut off, and that’s a reality she’s been fighting for years.

Rating: 1.5/5

The thing is, no matter how hard I tried to get into this book and look pass its flaws and cringey writing, I couldn't. When I first read the blurb, I thought that yes, this is exactly what I want to read and that I'll definitely like this because I like internet, I like fanfiction and writing and I like socially awkward teenagers. However, this book wasn't something I have imagined. Yes, sure, it was about fanfiction but my problem is that it revolved too much around fanfiction. It was also about the TV show that doesn't exist so it was hard to figure out what was everything about that Jane was writing. Moreover, I found Jane to be incredibly annoying. Okay, she has anxiety issues, she has a not-so-great life at home, but so do I and I don't act like that. On some points, I could understand where she's coming from, but the way she manipulated people, the way she always found therapists to be stupid, it was  frustrating. A person would think she'd want help, but I felt like she only wanted to make her own life worse. I believe that maybe because this book was about the issue I have a lot of knowledge and my own personal experience of, I couldn't buy it. I wish I could but I've been reading it at such a slow pace that it was tiring. I gave it half more stars just because the blurb seemed interesting. Novel itself just wasn't.

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