Sometimes you read a book and it’s obvious, from the outset, that the author expects you to realize that this book is pure, frothy fun. Suspend belief, jump on for the ride, and don’t think about it too much. How NOT to Spend Your Senior Year is definitely one of those books, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read, with no illusions of being a deep, thought-provoking YA story – an easy 4/5.
Our narrator is high school senior Jo-Jo, who assures us, on page one, that the story she is about to tell is 100% true. By page two, I was already engaged with Jo-Jo as a story teller:
Where does my 100-percent-true story truly start?
I suppose you could say the whole thing started the day I was born. I’m thinking that’s a bit extreme, though. As an alternative, I’m going to go with the third grade, which I think makes me about eight years old. I’m choosing this because that’s the year my mom died, and my dad and I moved for the very first time.
Just how often did we move? Let me put it this way: To the best of my knowledge, I am the only person in the entire United States to have attended fourteen different elementary schools between the third and sixth grades.
The real story starts on the first day of Jo-Jo’s attendance at her second high school of her senior year, when, instead of quietly blending into the background as she always has, she finds herself falling head-over-heels in love –
His name was Alex Crawford.
Actually, it still is. Nothing terrible happens to him during the course of my story, although it is both fair and accurate to say he does experience some surprises. A thing which makes two of us, now that I think about it.
From there, the story gets absolutely unbelievable, but delightfully so. The pacing is excellent, Jo-Jo is completely likable, and there really isn’t a mean, terrible character out of the whole story, which was a fabulous change of pace from most YA. I absolutely loved the fact that Dokey created Alex has someone who was a “big man on campus” but was still super, super nice.
Like I said, there definitely some rather pronounced plot holes, like why Jo-Jo would just switch schools instead of actually leaving Seattle, but on the whole, the story was too much fun to get too picky. If you’re looking for a lighthearted and whimsical tale, and some angst-free YA, I highly recommend How NOT to Spend Your Senior Year.