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(scathing) Review: Brooding YA Hero

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Title:Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (almost) as Awesome As Me

Author: Carrie Ann DiRisio

Genre: YA Satire (it’s not a very big genre)

Based on the Brooding YA Hero Twitter account, this book has Broody’s best advice on how to be a main character, from handling fan art and fan fiction to how to get that sequel you so desperately need. Oh, and how to get into those all important love triangles. Featuring illustrations, colouring pages, quizzes, and activities, this is a go-to guide for all lovers of YA. 

As an occasional stalker of the hilarious Brooding YA Hero twitter account, I was interested to see how this book would play out. It’s basically written as a guide to being a main character, with chapters on different aspects of YA books and fun, light banter throughout. However, I wasn’t a big fan of this book.

At first, it was pretty enjoyable. The book has a really fun tone, because Broody is self obsessed and always using himself as an example. I also enjoyed all the vague ‘subtweets’ or references to other YA books without mentioning them by name. I picked up a lot of them, I think, which was fun. For example, in the chapter on setting:

‘A dystopian world is… well, it’s actually probably just Earth in the future […] There’s likely been some sort of disaster that has made the world divide into Sections (Capitalisation is very important in dystopian worlds)’ .

This is definitely referencing The Hunger Games not-so-subtly (District 13, anyone?). I liked how it celebrated YA but also called out lots of problematic tropes. It was a fun  things to read.

However, after a while, Broody’s self obsessed tone became annoying and I felt like it detracted from the story. Speaking of story, there kind of wasn’t one. There are ‘narrative interludes’ which kind of talk about what’s happening in Broody’s world as he writes the book, but they’re not fully explained. At the beginning Broody says something about living in New Storytown or something and how whenever an author writes a character like him, he’s pulled into the story. Other times, the fact that New Storytown goes from medieval fantasy village to shiny sci-fi metropolis is also referenced. However, this isn’t really a part of the story and I found it just made me more, not less confused. These sections failed to tie together the story as a plot and I felt they shouldn’t have been included.

Most of the book is written in Broody’s voice, but sometimes his ‘evil’ ex-girlfriend adds a not here or there further explaining something, saying Broody is dumb, or (most likely), mentioning diversity where Broody fails. Here’s the thing: I’m not against diversity (even if I don’t like the way the word is used) BUT I felt like these sections were completely preachy and unsubtle and didn’t really achieve anything???

I mean, really Authors? Can’t you… I dunno… try harder? Give us main characters a little variety in the roles we’re playing? Make our fictional worlds reflect the real lives of your readers a little more?

I don’t know. Of course people want more characters who aren’t white and middle class and everything. But YA is definitely more diverse than it was even 3 years ago. And I found these sections about feminism or racism or homophobia or diversity in general annoying, like the author was showing how up with the times she was by calling out all these negative tropes. But Broody’s voice and all the subtle references I mentioned already were doing that, so it felt needless.

Aside from the preachy tone and confusingness, after a while this book got tiresome. There wasn’t a thread apart from dissing YA tropes that are harmful and groupings of chapters with various aspects of YA books. The writing just didn’t entrance me and because it didn’t have a plot, it felt choppy and random.

Overall, I really liked the idea of Brooding YA Hero, and the twitter account is fabulous, but the book felt poorly written, confusing, and needlessly preachy about something the YA world is already solving. However, if you like picking up references to books, then you may just enjoy this. It certainly wasn’t for me.

(rating: 2 stars. I can’t rate by setting etc. like I normally do)

Have you read this book/the twitter account? Do you ever feel like the books you read are more a message than a story that lets you make your own interpretations? 

 

10 thoughts on “(scathing) Review: Brooding YA Hero

    1. Yeah, me too! This book wasn’t a normal YA book with a plot and structure and stuff, so it was totally different. I’d be interested too! I don’t recommend it at all 🙂

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  1. Hm… dunno about this one! I kinda like the idea of it, but I can imagine it would be hard to pull this off without sounding condescending (I dunno if I spelt that right lol) or preachy. Plus it would suck to read this as an author and have a direct attack on your book when even though some of these traits are definitely overused they are actually enjoyable to read… I hope that all made sense!!

    Great review 🙂

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    1. I’m pretty sure you spelt this right. And also, your comment totally makes sense. Yes, some tropes are overused, but they exist for a reason as well. It’s because they’re enjoyable. It didn’t call any books out by name but definitely made it obvious to a prolific reader which one it was talking about, and I think that’s not very polite? Like, authors shouldn’t really mock or criticise other author’s works if you ask me. Thank you for your comment!

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  2. Omg so I admit…I actually have this account muted/blocked. 😂 I feel BAD but I personally hate satire and a lot of the tweets were so condescending. Like just being a writer and huge bookworm myself, I feel weird when another author is there basically taking this really big moral high ground and saying what everyone else is doing “wrong”. Like, hmm, who died and made you god.😂 It bugs me a lot. I think YA can be problematic and there are tired old tropes and I also do make fun of them…but just the tweets were way too irritating for me so I skipped out on ever touching the book. (And I also feel like if someone spends 90% of their time critiquing and making fun of YA…then they shouldn’t be reading it?!? But just my opinion.)

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    1. Yeah, I know! I can see why you would block this, especially as an author. I felt like this book was half blatant mockery and half gently poking fun without being disrespectful or rude. Idk, man. One other thing I didn’t mention that annoyed me about this book is that Blondie is always adding in these notes basically about diversity and how it should be done more. Firstly, it is. Secondly, she and Broody, end up together which felt really predictable like any other YA book and definitely wasn’t diverse. And that was the point, I get it, but still….
      Although many YA tropes frustrate me and Broody called some of these out, some tropes do exist for a reason.

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  3. hi Shar,
    Totally get what you mean. I want an author to take me to a new place give me a story, draw me into it, make me engage with the characters, live the plot but NOT tell me what it all means. I want to deal with the new place (new setting, new ideas, new social world, new moral questions, whatever) on my terms as who I am. The Kite Runner by Khalid Hossein did all of that magical stuff so well that I read his next book.
    I do not want the author to use a story to tell me their message. A classic (aka really disappointing) example for me was Hossein’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. Propaganda wrapped up in the (thin) guise of a novel.

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    1. I should really read the Kite Runner! (especially since I’m trying to not only read ya, as you might know). It’s interesting that you really liked one Hossein book and not the other? I wonder what that was about. This barely even had a story, and was mostly making fun of the genre. I can guarantee you wouldn’t enjoy this book at all.

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  4. Oh I’m sorry to hear this book wasn’t for you, Shar. I do occasionally, read the twitter account and find it funny/accurate, but… I don’t read it too often either. I don’t know if this book would be for me, really, I think I might end up feeling the same way that you did, a bit annoyed overall, especially if it’s too preachy and there is basically no plot or nothing that makes you keep on reading. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this 🙂

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    1. Yeah, the twitter account is super funny (if a bit mean!) I think some people would enjoy it but generally books with no plot just aren’t my thing. It kind of read like a self-help book? I never read self help books because why? In general, I think the medium just works better on twitter, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

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