Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Rave: FML by Shaun David Hutchinson

This spring marked the 15-year anniversary of two beloved films from my teen years: SLIDING DOORS and CAN'T HARDLY WAIT.

The former starred Gwyneth Paltrow before we all hated her as a young Brit (remember when we all thought she was actually British?) whose life splits into two scenarios -- one where she catches the train and then catches her boyfriend cheating and becomes empowered and dyes her hair, and the other where she misses the train and is stuck with her mousy brunette bangs (They were seriously depressing to look at). CAN'T HARDLY WAIT starred a bunch of up-and-comers and never-quite-got-theres and included many X-FILES references. It revolved around a wild high school party on graduation night, where kind soul Preston Meyers is determined to confess his true feelings via text email snapchat hand-written letter to most popular girl Amanda "Amanduhhh" Beckett. Complications and Third Eye Blind songs ensue.

If you loved those movies, then you will love their novelized offspring: FML by Shaun David Hutchinson. The pitch, from Goodreads:

Tonight’s the night: Simon’s big chance to finally get with Cassie. Cassie, who he’s loved for ages. Cassie, who is newly boyfriend-free. Cassie, who just happens to be throwing the biggest party of the year. Simon’s plan is simple: He’ll go to the party, she’ll fall in love with him, they’ll make out like crazy, and the night will be a complete success.

But things don’t ever go as planned…especially when it comes to Cassie.

In two alternating plotlines, Simon goes after the girl of his dreams and stumbles toward his destiny. It’s one night, one party, and a thousand ways for things to go wrong…but a million ways for them to go right.

I was instantly hooked by the premise, and FML did not disappoint. It's entertaining, funny, and just a little raunchy. Fun, male-POV young adult contemporaries are lacking in the market (IMHO, though correct me if that's way offbase), and FML felt like a fresh alternative. The characters all come off as genuine. I loved how he encapsulates the weird nostalgia you feel as a senior. Whether you like it or not, you have history with your classmates, and while you can't wait to leave them, you know you'll always be tied to them. It's filled with witty banter between Simon and his two best buds, who are dating each other. They're gay, but come off as fleshed-out characters whose sexuality is secondary but not nonexistent.

Best of all, Hutchinson does a great job balancing the dual-POV of Simon's two realities. They intertwine in clever ways without ever repeating themselves, and there's one twist that genuinely took me by surprise (cough, Natalie, cough). 

FML is perfect for a fun, light summer read. And while nobody dyes their hair or meets an angel stripper, you will still have a good time reading it. 


  1. Has it seriously been 15 years since both of these movies came out? Lord, help me...I saw both of these in the movie theater. Of course that was back in the days when the projectors were all hand-cranked and tickets only cost a quarter!

    Thanks for the kind words!

  2. I've been on the fence about adding this book to my TBR-list, but this post convinced me! Love both those movies and weird nostalgia :)

  3. That cover looks so much like the cover for 'wtf?' But that's a different author, right?

    Anyway, this book sounds awesome. Thanks for putting it on my radar, P :)

    1. wtf is by Peter Lerangis, but it's also published by Simon Pulse. SP decided to rerelease wtf and to market them with similar titles and covers, which is kind of cool :)

  4. Angelic strippers are totally overrated.

    Great post--I'm excited to read this one! And pretty sure that this line, Whether you like it or not, you have history with your classmates, and while you can't wait to leave them, you know you'll always be tied to them, could be a lead-in for the next John Hughes movie...if the world would be so lucky to have another. *sniffs*

  5. Sliding Doors is one of my fave movies! Thanks for the heads up on this book--it sounds great. :)

  6. Sounds great! Now I really want to go watch Sliding Doors again... ;-)

  7. A book with limes and a red solo cup on the cover. Looks like things might get wild in there!