Ready, Okay! by Adam Cadre: The very first sentence of this book tells you that it’s not going to end happily. Lots of people are going to die. Within the first couple chapters you realize that they’re going to die in a shooting, probably reminiscent of Columbine. And you are not mistaken. Don’t get me wrong – this book is very funny. The characters are memorable, unique, and yet stunningly familiar to anyone who went to high school in the last decade (and perhaps longer; I don’t know what high school was like before the early 1990s). Granted, my high school years were notably lacking in the sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence departments, but adolescents are still adolescents regardless of whether they’re being self-destructive. The narrator’s commentary on child and teenage communication is hilariously accurate, and I felt myself nodding along with a lot of the inanity.
However, during the last hundred pages or so it starts to drag a bit. Tragedy after tragedy strikes, people start acting very much unlike teenagers (or real people at all), and there is a lengthy and rather disturbing discussion of nudism and incest. It’s one of those books that I’m glad I read, but I’m also not surprised it wasn’t what you might call critically acclaimed. Ultimately I think I would recommend this book to teenagers. It’s most relevant to their lives; the rest of us are lucky enough to have lived through it already.
Also posted on BookCrossing.