Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Review of The Story of Awkward by R.K. Ryals


Goodreads summary: If you are looking for a happy book about beautiful people, this is the wrong story.

If you are looking for a narrative without emotion, without regrets, and without mistakes, this is definitely the wrong story.

This is by no means an uncomplicated tale about uncomplicated people. It is by no means sweet or light.

This story is ugly.
This story is complicated.
This story is emotional.
This story is tragic.

In short, this story is about being awkward.

Peregrine Storke is an artist with an odd sketchbook full of pictures she’s drawn since she was a child. It is a book full of strange sketches and awkward characters, for there is no better way to hide from bullying and life than to create a world of your own. With a stroke of her pencil, she has given life to a spectacled princess, a freckle-nosed king, a candy-loving troll, a two-horned unicorn, and a graceless fairy.

At nineteen, Peregrine leaves her home, her sketchbook, and awkwardness behind. But what happens when something goes wrong in the world of Awkward? Trapped inside of her complex realm with the bully she thought to leave behind, Peregrine discovers there is nothing worse than falling for your own villain.


Goodreads rating: 3.93 stars with 903 ratings

Genre Listings: Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Paranormal, Fairy Tales, New Adult, Coming of Age

Get the Book: Amazon- Paperback

Review:

Edited 12/1/2016

There's something wonderful about picking a book at random and it being the exact book you needed to read. When I started this book, I didn't know much about it. I just thought the cover and title were quirky and that I'd give it a shot. The Story of Awkward, however, ended up being a gift from the book Gods. This book is very likely going to have a place near and dear to my heart for years to come. That being said, it is not a  great book. It's a very entertaining story that pulls at the heartstrings, but it still has some flaws. Which, I guess is fitting since it's a story about embracing those flaws. My mind is spinning with contradictions right now.

Let me start out this review with a disclaimer: If you do not like overly cheesy stories, this may not be the book for you. Despite the description saying it's ugly, emotional, and tragic; it's a very sweet story.

The Story of Awkward is a very short read, to the tune of 265 pages. Despite the issues it tackles, I found it to be a very light, and at times even a comical read. In the beginning, of the story, we get a very brief overview of the torment Perry has gone through. I found her to be easy to relate to. It's not an overwhelming amount of character depth, but I feel like it's enough. Perri threw her torment into her drawing and created a fictional world where she belonged. I think that's what made me relate to her, but instead of pictures I threw myself into books (shocking, right?). Perri's real-world is shaken when she finds out that her fictional world is real and needs her.

She's thrown into saving the world she created with Foster, her best friend's brother and one of her tormentors. This is where the story gets pretty cheesy. To save her world, Perri has to admit a lot about herself, learn about herself, and even learn to forgive Foster. From here out, the story is cliche. I think it might have meant to be cliche, though. Despite the cheesiness and predictable storyline, I still found it endearing.

Going back to my initial comment about needing to read this- I did. Even at 27 years old I still struggle with my awkward quirks. This book is about accepting those quirks and has a great message. This is a journey about going from wanting to forget the past, to realizing the past is what shapes you. I admired that, even if it was cheesy.

Aside from Perri, Foster, and Elspeth, there isn't much character development. I'm oddly okay with that because I don't know if giving Nimble, Herman, and Weasel more development would have improved anything. I did get slightly miffed because once they were away from the swamp Herman seemed to disappear like the author forgot about him completely. I found myself wondering where he was and it distracted from the story, even though he wasn't a big part of the story.

I wanted to hate Foster. I did. He ended up being sweet, funny, and just as damaged (if not more so) than Perri. He ended up being my favorite character in the story. There's a particular scene that turned me for him. I won't give too many details because I don't want to give spoilers, but it involves Foster grabbing Perri's hand so that she won't be afraid of the dark. I awed, probably out loud. Yeah. I'm a sap, I know.

The amount of highlights I've made for this book is ridiculous (have I mentioned how much I love that feature on Kindle?). Here are some of my favorites:

"Her name was Nimble because anyone who isn't naturally graceful should be given a graceful name."

"Even when we grow up, the child remains. It's the child that shapes the adult. What happens to you when you are young shapes what you become later. Whether you think you belong here or not is beside the point. The little girl that drew Awkward still lives inside of you."

"It isn't about being awkward. It's about not being ashamed to be awkward. It's about embracing what makes us different. Perfection and Stereotype are threats to that."

"Love isn't roses. It's the little square caramels and a root beer from the gas station because he knows that's your favorite snack. It's watching a musical with you without groaning. It's handing you your glasses at night because he knows you're too blind to find your way to the bathroom without them. Love is awkward." - This is probably my favorite quote in the book. I'd like to do something artsy with this quote and put it on my wall. It's lovely and imperfectly perfect.

"Silence was louder than noise. I often filled it with awkward, nonsensical conversation." (Oh, good. I'm not the only one. <__<  >_>)

"In the real world, we did a lot of things in the real world, princes didn't rid on stallions and save princesses from towers. In the real world, they smelled a lot like dirt, sweaty skin, and cotton candy. In the real world, they were friends first. They didn't fall in love over a first kiss and no conversation. IN the real world, they were kind of awkward."

"You couldn't attack someone with something they'd learn to deal with."

"There are moments when tears are all you have, when crying releases everything and leaves you fresh. It gives you a clean slate to work with."

"Princes should never be perfect. They should have nightmares. They should be picky eaters and made queasy by the sight of blood. They should be blunt and occasionally a little arrogant. They should be loyal and determined. Most of all, they should be awkward and real."

Overall I enjoyed this story. There were some flaws, but it wasn't anything that turned me off of the book. I felt this was a cheesy, cliche, but an endearing story that pulled at the heartstrings. I'm very happy to have read it. It was wonderful spending this snowy Sunday with these characters.

Four out of Five moons.




4 comments:

  1. I just read this book, and I loved it.

    I see we had similar opinions on Foster. That's reassuring, since I didn't want to feel like the only one who wanted to hate him. Or be the only one to have heard of this book, for that matter. Yeah, I'm pretty sure almost nobody in existence has heard of this book.

    I read it on Kindle and highlighted so much of it, too. Mostly the stuff that was really positive and would help me to feel better about myself later on when I need it.

    We seemed to have similar opinions on this book, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. I know you posted this a year ago, but whatever.

    I just discovered your blog since I'm doing a project on this book, and now I'm here leaving a comment for you. I'll try to keep track of this blog and find more books I might like.

    That's all for now. Bye!

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    1. Hi Alicia, thank you for the comment! I don't really know of anyone else who has heard of this book either, but I definitely enjoyed it. I hope you did as well. Good luck on your project!

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    2. You're welcome! I enjoyed it too, and I'm hoping that I might be able to get more people to read it, since my project is due tomorrow.
      Thank you! It took me the entire day from when I posted my original comment until now to finish it (I made a movie poster to advertise the book). I'm going to be posting a picture of the project to my tumblr in about an hour (the link is in my name), if you want to see it.

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    3. I hope it gets people interested in it as well. I'd love to see the project!

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I love to read what people have to say, so don't be shy with the comments. Thank you to anyone who leaves one. Happy reading! :)