Book Review: My Life Undecided

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
Release Date: June 2011 
Pages: 320 

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else decide which book I read for English. And whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

The Short of It: A fast read that ultimately quite fun. I had a bit of trouble with the predictability and some depth issues, but overall enjoyed it.

Plot: I suppose you could say this book is a cautionary tale about doing the right thing. Brooklyn’s life is a mess and is in a complete downward spiral, mainly due to her “best friend” aka puppeteer. The same best friend who lets her take the fall for a crime they both committed. Brooklyn is let off the hook easy with community service hours in a, wait for it, nursing home. Why must community service always be in a nursing home? One were they’re paired up with a grouchy old person who they end up connecting with. Tell me, when does this happen in real life? Yes, it’s sweet, but so overused. The blog was a fun aspect. Something I can see someone, especially a teen, doing. In fact, I’m pretty sure it has been done on a lesser scale (like choosing what I’m wearing today). I’ll even say I can say the choices were ultimately believable. Not because they were the “right” thing, but because they landed Brooklyn in embarrassing/no fun situations like being on the debate team, trying out for rugby, and skipping a hot club opening. Brody was pushing that her voters were pointing her in the right direction, and maybe some of them were, but I doubt most of them were. Of course, there’s no saying how many of her voters were teenagers. Perhaps some were adult-ish age who would point her in the right direction. The only true issue I had with the book is that Brody glossed over some serious issues. I felt like she could have done so much more with those conflicts, especially where Mrs. Moody and her son were concerned since she was in the majority of the book. I felt like the issue with her sister was needlessly thrown in as another way to show Brooklyn that no one was perfect. Brody could have shown this many other ways that she could have brushed by easy, but the issue she choose really deserved a little more page time. (Sorry for being vague, I’m trying not to give anything major away.)

Characters: Brooklyn overall is a very likable character. Even when she is being stupid, you can’t help but root for her. She can be a bit bratty at times, but the majority of the time she is funny and even a bit charming. I enjoyed seeing her transformation from being a stuck-up princess to someone who is more down to earth and caring. It was nice to see her find her footing and discover who she really was. It was kind of ironic to see her go from one person telling her what to do to a couple of dozen, but at least the blog readers sent her in the right direction. And in the end, she was finally ready to follow her own destiny rather than let others decide it for her. She got several cheers from me when she finally reached that point. I was left with the feeling that she would continue down that road and would end up at a happy future.

Romance: Ah, the classic bad, charming boy verse the geeky, loser boy. I hate ruin who she ends up with, so I won’t say much on it. However, the outcome was is quite predicable. I could see who she would end up almost from the start. Not only does one get so much more page time, but he also fits better into her lifestyle. That being said, I’m glad she ended up with who she ended up with. He’s cute, charming, and will definitely treat her like a true princess and an equal at the same time. Their scenes were hands down my favorite and would have liked to see them together even more than they were.

Writing: Beyond what I’ve already talked about, I have no issues with Brody’s writing. Her books have this charming quality that makes them likable even if they do have a few issues. She does well at pacing and has created another fast, witty read that most middle school/early high school girls will eat up.

Librarian-Mode: I would definitely hand over Brody’s other book The Karma Club to anyone who liked this one. Beyond that I would consider Tweetheart by Elizabeth Rudnick, Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson, and Four Things My Geeky-Jock-of-a-Best-Friend Must Do in Europe by Jane Harrington. So, now it’s your turn…have you read My Life Undecided? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought.

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