Book Review: Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Title: Adorkable
Author: Sarra Manning
Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit
Publisher: Atom 
Publication Date: May 2012
Pages: 387
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian’s 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World. And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane’s boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common – she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can’t she stop talking to him?

My Review:

I secretly love portmanteaux. From spork to staycation, liger to Brangelina – I love them all. So I was eagerly awaiting the day to get my hands on Adorkable. But it wasn’t exactly the dorky yet adorable read I was expecting from the title.

Jeane Smith is a seventeen year old entrepreneur. She has her own company, half a million twitter followers, writes articles for national newspapers and has people flying her half way around the world to hear her speak. As an emancipated minor with no one but the couple next door to make sure she’s eating well and cleaning up after herself, her flat looks like a bomb has hit it and her diet consists of sweets and take out.

Then there’s Michael Lee – ladies man, man’s man, man about town, sports star, and on the student council. Top it off, parents LOVE him.

Each is the centre of their own universe but their worlds seem to have nothing in common. Until Michael Lee brings to Jeane’s attention that her boyfriend and his girlfriend are making eyes at each other…

There were a few things that I really enjoyed about this novel. It’s quirky and at times rather fun. I did find myself laughing out loud at times (which my cat did not appreciate). But it’s been a long time since I read a book where I disliked the two main characters with a passion.

Jeane is pretentious, elitist, conceited, judgemental and just plain rude. Michael Lee isn’t much better. They’re both snarky – which I liked – and they both seem to think that they’re better than everyone else – which I didn’t like quite so much. They weren’t all bad… just mostly. I did like Jeane’s refreshingly blasé views towards sex. But for the most part her attitude towards every other person in the novel (with the exception of her sister, Bethan) started to get a little irritating. I do wonder if the reader was even supposed to like Michael Lee… especially after he described Jeane as having a pot-belly… super attractive, am I right?

By the end of the novel I could see that Jeane was evolving and changing – although it seemed to happen at a pace that was non-existent for most of the time and then a little rushed at the end – but Michael Lee remained the same as he appeared at the beginning. I was a little disappointed. I’d have liked to have seen some character growth from him. I have to admit that I don’t quite understand the Adorkable brand as Jeane intended it. I read the manifesto (and I liked it) but I felt like what she was presenting at the conference…whilst it didn’t contradict her message, it seemed like every single person who was there and (anyone who wasn’t) would have been rather insulted.

I loved how the author used social media throughout the novel – especially twitter. Jeane’s tweets were kind of perfect even when she and Michael started quoting Sartre at each other… although that shows just how pretentious the two of them are.

At time times they played the roles of teenagers perfectly but for the most part it felt like I was reading an adult chick lit story as they didn’t feel like they were only 17 and 18 years old but rather almost a decade older than that. I wonder how well this book will go down with YA readers because as a young adult novel, I’m not sure I entirely got it. But as a novel with a non-specified audience, I quite enjoyed how everything played out.

By the time I finished this book I did enjoy the story but I felt like it took a little too long to get to the end. Whilst I didn’t like the characters I did enjoy reading their interactions and adventures. And I think I’d definitely be a reader of Jeane’s blog if she was more than a fictional character – I just wouldn’t be a friend of hers.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


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