Size Doesn’t Matter (182): When I Am Through with You; What Goes Up

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (182): When I Am Through with You; What Goes UpWhen I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn
Narrator: MacLeod Andrews
Length: 7 hrs, 55 mins
Series: Sins and Scandals #1
Published by Listening Library on August 1, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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Goodreads
two-stars

“This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”

Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.

The bookish community adores Kuehn’s books so much that I just keep trying. When I Am Through with You is my third attempt (following Charm & Strange and The Smaller Evil), and at this point I’m finally accepting that Kuehn’s books just aren’t for me.

On the positive side, When I Am Through with You was the most explicable of the three Kuehn books I’ve read. This time, I wasn’t left with the feeling that the whole book had just whooshed right over my head, and that was certainly nice. The survivalist plot will be exciting if you’re into that, which I sometimes am, but exclusively when I’m attached to the characters.

When I Am Through with You is from the perspective of Ben Gibson. He’s a pushover to the degree that he makes Hamlet look like a badass. His girlfriend Rose walked up to him one day and told him they were going to be a couple, and he was just like “okay.” When another girl offers sex, he takes her up on it, in the middle of the woods, despite having a girlfriend. The only brain he appears to have is in his penis. The exciting bit is that you know Ben’s in jail and he did something awful to Rose, but you don’t know what. Unfortunately I didn’t care about Ben or Rose at all.

None of the kids camping really interested me, actually. And I find it really interesting that all three of the Kuehn books I’ve read have been male POVs, and the female characters have all been written like a straight, male author would write them. I don’t really enjoy reading books by most straight men, so it’s not surprising that When I Am Through with You left me cold. I also hadn’t realized this was first in a series, so it did feel very unresolved at the end. I will not be back for book two.

If you like survival stories and male POV, I’d recommend When I Am Through with You without reservation. Kuehn’s got a lot of talent absolutely, and I’d recommend her books to readers who aren’t me for sure.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (182): When I Am Through with You; What Goes UpWhat Goes Up by Katie Kennedy
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on July 18, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Humor, Adventure, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

Action-packed and wildly funny, this near-future sci-fi features three teens on an inter-dimensional mission to save the world.

Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Multi-World Agency. After rounds of crazy-competitive testing they are appointed to Team 3, along with an alternate, just in case Eddie screws up (as everyone expects he will). What they don’t expect is that aliens will arrive from another dimension, and look just like us. And no one could even imagine that Team 3 would be the only hope of saving our world from their Earth-destroying plans. The teens steal the spacecraft (it would be great if they knew how to fly it) and head to Earth2, where the aliens’ world and people are just like ours. With a few notable exceptions.

There, the teens will find more than their alternate selves: they'll face existential questions and high-stakes adventure, with comedy that's out of this world.

Last year, Kennedy’s debut Learning to Swear in America utterly charmed me. It was cute, funny, and driven by a strong first person voice. Add in some romance, and you’ve got a classic Christina book. What Goes Up has all those elements but ramps up the humor and gets even more science fiction-y. Pick this book up if you want an unputdownable, uproarious, action-packed delight. And, like, why wouldn’t you?

Unlike her debut, What Goes Up is in third person, but the characterization doesn’t suffer from the change. I fell in love with both Rosa and Eddie pretty much immediately. Trevor and Reg are pretty awesome too tbh. From the very start, I didn’t want to put this book down for a minute. It was very much instalove with this one.

“So, where are you from?”

She looked up. Of course he was talking to her. She chewed slowly, but he kept his eyes on her. “New Mexico.”

“But where are you from ?”

“A pleasant ranch house on Bayo Canyon?”

“Like, what are you?” he asked.

“Dude,” one of the others said. “She’s from New Mexico.”

What am I?” She wanted to say, Smarter than you, or Not a jerk. Instead she sighed loudly and said, “I’m an American of French and Japanese descent.”

“Wow,” Ellis said. “Good combo.” She flushed. “Which half is which?”

Rosa stared at him. “My left side is French.”

Rosa and Eddie are two of two hundred applicants for a role within NASA’s elite Interworlds Agency, which preps for the day we discover other intelligent life in the universe. The book opens with the rounds of testing used to determine which teens will be made the third IA pair. Once selected, they’ll finish high school and college at NASA. The tests are by turns challenging, strange, and terrifying.

“People should exchange bacon at weddings,” he said. “Who gives a crap about rings? But if you’re willing to share your bacon—that marriage is gonna last.”

Though I should probably do a full review for this one because of how much I loved it, there’s a whole lot that falls into spoiler realms, and I’d rather leave all of that a glorious surprise, because this book is so much fun. I laughed my ass off through most of it, but it also gave me FEELINGS (poor Eddie, my baby) and ship (Eddie and Rosa are adorbs). It’s one of the most genuinely funny books I’ve read in YA, with everything from ridiculous knock knock jokes to toilet humor (but of a sort that even made me laugh) to situational comedy, I was grinning and giggling my way through What Goes Up. (Like, that whole scene where they go in search of tampons had me in stitches.)

“You think you’re embarrassed?” Rosa pointed past Eddie to Trevor. “He thinks my vagina wears a hat.”

For fans of Kennedy’s debut or Gina Damico, What Goes Up is absolutely not to be missed. I’d love more science fiction like this! If those interspersed quotes didn’t convince you to read this book, I don’t know what to do with you tbh.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (182): When I Am Through with You; What Goes Up”

  1. Bekka says:

    “He makes Hamlet look like a badass” I’m choking.

    You’re so right about her female characters sounding like they’re written by men. The only book that I felt didn’t do this was Complicit, which is my favorite of hers. Delicate Monsters did this same thing, even featuring a whole scene with one of the female POV characters peeing for an endless amount of pages and then just… dripping everywhere after?

    Anyway, I used to like Kuehn’s books and had her on my auto-buy list but after When I Am Through With You and Delicate Monsters, I’m just not sure anymore.
    Bekka recently posted…August Book HaulMy Profile

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