The Loser's Guide to Life and Love

The Loser's Guide to Life and Love
by A. E. Cannon
YA fiction. 255 pp.
HarperTeen. 2008.

flap copy:

Ordinary, boring Ed works a loser summer job at Reel Life Movies, where he doesn't even have his own name tag. He's stuck with "Sergio." Ed's only consolations are his two best friends. Shelving DVDs isn't so mind-numbingly dull with Scout cracking jokes, and after hours Ed hangs out with the superbrain, Quark. Life starts to look up when the girl of his dreams saunters into Reel Life. Ed knows he doesn't have a chance . . . but maybe, just maybe Sergio does. All he has to do is pretend to be a smoldering Brazilian stud for the rest of his life. Simple, right? But . . . Ed's new dream girl has her own secrets, Scout wants to be more than Ed's best friend, and his buddy wants Scout for himself.

Star-crossed crushes make for hilarious misunderstandings as Ed guides his life toward disaster in this fresh, contemporary twist on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

By and large, I was disappointed with this book. I'm sure that it likely failed for me because of higher-than-appropriate expectations. The mechanics of the writing weren't bad, but I feel the novel as a whole lacked spark.

For starters, this is yet another novel told in alternating character views; it doesn't work here. I'm inclined to think it ought to have been told solely from Ed's perspective as Scout's, Ellie's, and Quark's perspectives really didn't bring much to the table. I think the multiple perspectives also stripped the novel of the magic it should have inherently pulled from Midsummer Night's Dream. Instead, it just seemed to be trying too hard to be a take on MND.

The other area where I believe it failed me is in its locale—my neighborhood. I realize that people seldom think their own neighborhood is magical, but that hasn't stopped authors from turning ordinary neighborhoods into magical places. This book made my neighborhood feel even more blasé than my daily experience with it. That's not good.

So, in the end, there are other local authors and novels with whom your time would be better spent.


Mr. Fob said...

That makes me sad. I love Ann. I'll read the book anyway and hopefully the lower expectations you've created will leave me more easily impressed. That and the fact that I like just about everything.

Edgy said...

I feel the same way. I was rather surprised in my disappointment.