Title: Weird Girl and What’s His Name
Author: Meagan Brothers
Publisher: Three Rooms Press
Publication Date: October 2015
Genre(s): Young adult, LGBT, Realistic fiction
“Rory,” Lula said, quite gravely, “I’ve just about had it up to here with all this horseshit alcoholic mumbo-jumbo nonsense.”
Seventeen-year-old Lula and Rory have been best friends for years. They are geeks and outcasts at school, but all they need are The X-Files, Lord of the Rings, and each other. Rory is gay and lives with his alcoholic mother; Lula is secretly in love with Rory and lives with her grandparents after her mother abandoned her as a child. The two share everything with each other — or so Lula thought, until she discovers a heartbreaking secret about Rory. Lula runs away from home in search of her elusive mother, hoping maybe she can heal new and old wounds. Rory, left behind in Lula’s dust, joins the football team and continues life without her. But a friendship like theirs, one rooted so deeply in sci-fi and fantasy fandoms, is not so easily severed.
So Amazon has this thing where, at the end of each month, I can get a couple of the next month’s new releases dirt-cheap. Weird Girl and What’s His Name is one of those books — why not buy an interesting-sounding YA novel for $2? So I did. And I kind of regret it. The story is told first from Rory’s perspective, then from Lula’s. The novel is over 300 pages long and about a fourth of that is comprised of X-Files info. Look, don’t get me wrong, I am a supergeek. Hello, I am the ultimate book geek, and a geek when it comes to other things, as well. I am not an X-Files geek, though, and I don’t know anyone who is. This normally wouldn’t have turned me off from the book — I don’t mind reading about things I’m not familiar with. But Weird Girl and What’s His Name took it too far. I’m not kidding when I say a fourth of his novel is solely about The X-Files. There was so much plot summary of episodes, quotes from the show, Rory and Lula’s commentary about the show, not to mention constant discussion of action figures, posters, and then new X-Files movie. Seriously. This novel went way overboard with X-Files information. So yeah, the plot was a little too much about The X-Files, but other than that, I didn’t have too much of a problem with it, I guess. The general plot was interesting with both Lula and Rory’s problems and solutions. I just thought the book was entirely too long. By time I was 75% through, I started skimming. I hate to admit it, but I just couldn’t stay 100% faithful.
Lula and Rory were the main characters of the novel. At first we get Rory’s point of view, and I think he’s alright. He seems like a decent guy with a lot of home problems and love life problems. I even feel sympathetic for him. From his perspective, Lula is okay, too, I guess. But then when the novel switches to Lula’s POV, it’s almost like she’s a different character. I don’t know if I’m the only one who got that vibe, but it just seemed like she was different. Much more whiny and irrational. And Rory, from Lula’s POV, was different, too. He was kind of a jerk, even though he had a little bit of a reason to be. But what frustrated me was that he’d act like a jerk and completely ignore her in person, then IM her and use smileys and such. I don’t know. I didn’t really connect to the characters on any level. I sympathized, of course, but I just didn’t think Lula and Rory were convincing enough.
This is the only novel I’ve read from Brothers, but I do know she has written two other YA novels. After reading this one, I’m not very inclined to read her others. Though her writing wasn’t bad, it wasn’t extraordinarily good. It was so-so. I especially hate how long her paragraphs were. I don’t know why this jumped out at me, of all things, but she just seemed so long winded. Lula would have five ginormous paragraphs of thought before anything ever happened. Inner monologue is fine, but do we really need multiple huge paragraphs of it constantly throughout the novel? Sorry, I know this seems really nitpicky, but certain things catch my eye when I read and this just happens to be one of them. I just wasn’t thrilled about this novel. I usually fall head-over-heels in love with YA, but not this time.
Favorite Quote(s): “This is your life, and it fucking matters, okay? Are you hearing me? You are here, and it fucking matters. You’re the one setting the intentions now.”
“I kind of didn’t like beer at first. But now that I’d tried a lot of different brands, I’d discovered that . . . well, that I still didn’t really like beer. I guess what I did like was being able to fuzz out and not think so hard about stuff for a while.”
“You exist. Okay? That’s really important. You’re here now, and you’re the one who gets to say what’s a mistake and what isn’t.”