Review: How to Make Out by Brianna Shrum10:00
Author: Brianna Shrum
Published September 6th 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Sixteen-year-old Renley needs three thousand dollars for the math club’s trip to New York City, and she knows exactly how to get it: she’s going to start a how-to blog where people pay for answers to all of life’s questions from a “certified expert.” The only problems: 1) She doesn’t know how to do anything but long division and calculus. 2) She’s totally invisible to people at school. And not in a cool Gossip Girl kind of way.
So, she decides to learn to do . . . well . . . everything. When her anonymous blog shifts in a more scandalous direction and the questions (and money) start rolling in, she has to learn not just how to do waterfall braids and cat-eye makeup, but a few other things, like how to cure a hangover, how to flirt, and how to make out (something her very experienced, and very in-love-with-her neighbor, Drew, is more than willing to help with).
As her blog’s reputation skyrockets, so does “new and improved” Renley’s popularity. She’s not only nabbed the attention of the entire school, but also the eye of Seth Levine, the hot culinary wizard she’s admired from across the home-ec classroom all year.
Soon, caught up in the thrill of popularity both in and out of cyberspace, her secrets start to spiral, and she finds that she’s forgotten the most important how-to: how to be herself. When her online and real lives converge, Renley will have to make a choice: lose everything she loves in her new life, or everyone she loves in the life she left behind.
I was immediately drawn to this book when I first saw the synopsis on goodreads. It seemed, to me, like the perfect book, and I started my copy as soon as it arrived. Unfortunately, I severely disliked the book, and had a ton of problems.
Firstly, the book is about Renley, a girl whose mam left when her dad had an affair, and moved to New York to start a new family. When the maths club decides on a trip to NYC, Renley decides she'd do anything to get there, even though it would cost $3,000. Her solution, start a help blog, that will start to charge once her readership goes up. Quickly she has loads of subscribers, and the money starts rolling in. But as it does, so do the uncomfortable questions, and she finds herself changing in order to earn money. Her best friend, and neighbour, Drew, initially helps her, but his unrequited feelings for her soon grow in the way, and she is drawn to the school's hottie, Seth.
Renley, as a character, was awful. I couldn't connect to her, at all, and as the book progressed, she got worse and worse. I found myself wanting to scream at her, and, honestly, I have no idea why I finished the book. TBH, none of the characters were that good, and Drew's whole 'friend-zoning' act was ridiculous, as was Renley for putting him on.
The way she got hundreds of views, shares, and a ton of money so fast, was also unbelievable. She found herself reaching her target, and more, in little time, and then didn't even want to go on the trip. Her complete 180 - neigh on a lobotomy - was annoying, and the ending even worse. There was just an overload of angst, and cliches, and fantasy, that for a contemporary book, I wish I had never read it. I'm so glad I waited for a library copy, and didn't waste my money on a hard copy. Definitely would not recommend.