Book: If Jack’s In Love
Author: Stephen Wetta
Published: 2011 (Amy Einhorn Books)
The only reason any of these characters exist is to talk about each other in a judgey way. That includes the 12-year-old “genius” protagonist, quotes used because his smartypants qualifications are that he’s on the school honor roll. That’s IT, and it’s mentioned like twice as offhand remarks. Nowhere else is he mentioned doing or even caring about anything intellectual.
His brother may or may not have murdered a rival high schooler, by the way. BY THE WAY. Wetta gets the show/tell dynamic all wrong; he skims over the interesting scenes with bloodless narration only to zoom in on the most repetitive information drop conversations ever. His characters also slam in and out of southern dialect like the many-doored set of a stage farce. Also, there’s a Jewish jeweler who has magic rings, maybe, and is definitely way too interested in the protagonist’s physical progress with his grade-school girlfriend. The protagonist’s dad is thinking about robbing the jeweler’s store.
None of these plot threads come close to touching each other. It sort of reminds me of the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode when Mac and Charlie go to a masked sex party only to find it full of disgusting people and they lost interest before everything comes together.
In other words: I want my $12.50 back, Barnes and Noble. You. Me. Receipt. Monday.