Underwhelming. Deadpan. Diverting.
Tim Anderson's pretty much the only character around. The other people in the memoir are by and large unmemorable, though there are some exceptions (his account of his ill-fated rock band is particularly nice.)
MacLeod Andrews was mostly good, except for when he tried to speak Japanese and speak in a Japanese accent. Then it was sometimes offensive.
Sometimes I would laugh out loud, sometimes I would chuckle, but overall I listened in stoic silence trying to figure out when the next time I would laugh was.
In general, I don't laugh a whole lot (ha ha). This particular read though was not bad. It was an interesting, if seemingly dated (no talk of cell phones here), jaunt through Japan. Though many observations were a bit stereotypical (Anderson's description of Japanese people's formalities, for instance), and though Andrews' reading was sometimes more than just stereotypical (intentional changing of r's to l's, for instance), it was overall vaguely amusing. I enjoyed greatly that the story was a bunch of vignettes in Anderson's life, but I would have liked to see greater insights into Japanese culture. Overall: not bad. But not great.
Unfortunately, this wasn't quite what I wanted. Smith writes characters that moan and whine in the grand tradition of YA fiction, but rarely develop more than the story asks for. And when that story is "girl goes to London and falls in love with boy on the way-- also, they both have daddy issues"-- well.
I'd recommend other young adult fiction novels to my friends. This one had a lovely name, but relied too much on tired tropes and brick jokes.
I'm sure Holloway is a fine actress, but this text did her no justice. Although her British accent could use some work.
While I enjoyed some of the wordplay, as well as the all-too-rare college setting (why are so many YA novels set in high school? well, I guess that makes sense, but nevertheless), the protagonist is just completely spineless. I actually listened to this while running, and it actually made me run faster because I was just so angry at Cather-- she actively avoids anything new, and resents her sister for meeting new people and having fun in college. Granted, this might have been me projecting at my own memories of being an overly introverted person back in college, but that doesn't change the fact that Cather just cannot stand alone as a protagonist.
There are a number of redeeming factors, however; her roommate, Reagan, is probably the only reason I continued reading the book, and her sister is just fun to read in general. However, the love interest is a bit of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype who cannot stand as a character without Cather, and is wholly uninteresting with manufactured hamartiae.
Finally, the book ended right as the story really got rolling, with the first half of the story consisting of mainly Cather whining. In fact, it was so abrupt that it almost didn't make sense-- and right as Cather was starting to grow on me, too.
Overall, I cannot wholly recommend this book. It is cute. I will grant you that. But if protagonists who rival Hamlet in their wishy-washiness bother you, this book is not for you. It's really too bad.
I have heard good things about Eleanor and Park-- might try that one. But this one was meh.
I haven't listened to Lowman or Caulfield before, but they did a really great job considering the circumstances. Lowman reads an especially snarky Reagan.
Fangirl's ending was quite abrupt, but it was creative in its used of somewhat mixed media (i.e. excerpts of the fanfic Cather reads all the time). That might be nice to see.
Report Inappropriate Content