Okay, so I'm new here- but whatever. Who cares. Anyways, I was in the library, looking for a great YA book to kickstart my week- and then my eyes fell upon this gem. The cover was very glossy. And shiny- oh yes, the light glinted off the jacket very well. I couldn't resist such a masterpiece of a cover- and so I quickly snatched it up and carted it home.
Now, let's see what treasure I've dug into- and remember...this is a blind sporking. If you spoil this for me, this book will not be the only one sporked...YOU TOO SHALL BE SPORKED.
So this thing's called Dull Boy. A first-time writer, Sarah Cross, wrote this. I've heard that she's also wrote some kind of fractured fairy tale thing...Kill Me Slowly, is it? I don't know, nor do I care. I just care about her YA book: Dull Boy.
"Sometimes I wish I didn't care what would happen if anyone knew the truth about me. But I do care. I have to keep this- super strength, flying- a secret. No one can know- not my parents, not my friends...it's just that it's getting harder to hide it."
That's what it says in the beginning of the blurb. Hmmm, sounds kind of typical for the super-powered teen story...but the "it's getting harder to hide it" part sounds encouraging :D
"It's Friday- another afternoon spent pounding the pavement in search of crimes to stop and people to help. And, as usual, I'm coming up mostly empty."
That's a decent opening line. At least the hero, Avery, is embracing his powers to HELP THE SIDE OF GOOD instead of being a whiny bastard who just wants to be freaking normal <.< thank the heavens... it's rare to see a productive hero who takes action in his own hands. And better yet, HE'S NOT A CYNICAL JACKASS.
WOOOOOOOOOT, I LOVE THIS BOOK ALREADY. MARRY ME, BOOK- YOUR PROTAGONIST IS NOT WEARING JADE COLORED GLASSES.
So right now, our hero, Avery (MARRY ME) is now following in the footsteps of Batman and is scouring his neighborhood for villains to beat up. Unfortunately, he only sees a little kid being an EPIC FAIL at basketball.
"He chases after it, sniffles thanks to a monster runny nose, and wipes his face on his sleeve."
Wow, lol. To show how much more of an underdog that the little kid is, they make him a sickly little darling. Actually, though, the sentence immediately wants me to classify the little kid as a Moe Woobie...
"Sniff! He scrunches his face. Tries again."
Adorable. Just adorable. I bet five bucks right now that he's going to be victimized so Avery (again, MARRY ME I LOVE YOU FOR BEING SO PRODUCTIVE) can save him. Contrived, yet acceptable. After all, how else do they kickstart the exposition and the characterization?
So Avery, apart from being an awesomely productive dude, is also a great friend. He's obsessing over his best friend, Henry's birthday party.
Oh, wait, this line "...the closest I've come to doing anything useful was picking up and returning a dollar someone dropped." Oh my god, Avery, you are a f**king saint. It's a tad unrealistic for a teenager(his age isn't shown yet, as seeing I'm still on page 1) to return something so trivial. A lot of other kids would be too lazy to return a DOLLAR- I mean, c'mon- would you really have returned something as SMALL AS A DOLLAR?
Avery = The Messiah archtype/ The Hero
"A pack of rowdy fifth and sixth graders bound across the playground, laughing at triple volume like they've got someone to impress."
Oh no, not THAT contrived plot device/stock character...why oh why did the book have to introduce stupidly cliched bullies in this?...and it's even stupider because Avery also gives a semi-lampshade-esque commentary on bullies needing to impress someone in order to fuel themselves. If only the bullies actually took bullying SERIOUSLY in literature, then I might view it as something more than an annoying book-filler designed to make me bang my cranium against the beautifully shiny book...
"The kid tenses up, stops his basketball mid-bounce. Almost in sync, I rise from my stakeout spot. These guys are tiny to me, but they're giants to the kid- I can tell by the way he shrinks back as they approach. I drift closer, hackles up like an angry guard dog."
So Avery decides that it's time to be AMERIIIIIIIICAAAAAAAA (Hetalia <333) and is about to prepare himself- until his phone starts ringing. Iron Man, by Black Sabbath.
Eh, the song's okay. Way to give a shout out, book.
But wait a minute...what's the point of hiding yourself? And why're you so pissed about your phone ringing in the first place? After all, you were already putting yourself into their range of vision...
Oh, look- he's got a text from his Foe Yay buddy Nate. I think he's supposed to be the Judas Escariot of Avery's friends: "...Nate, my sort of friend, the guy who weaseled his way into our group after he took my spot on the wrestling team- a spot he's never have if I hadn't voluntarily stepped down."
Yummmm, I can smell the Foe Yay subtext- even though I'm sniffing a bit too hard for it. But whatever.
After Nate texts him "wat u doin?", Avery decides to lie and say that he's at the library, working on his science project.
And wait- I think I found some foreshadowing!!!
"What's up with bothering me? Henry's surprise party isn't till eight." That right there REEKS of foreshadowing.
"I bump the volume down on my phone- no more interruptions!-and glance up just in time to see the kid's knees hit the pavement. When he tries to get up, the older guys shove him down again."
Poor kid. Does he even have a name? But, justified, it would be very creepy if Avery knew the kid's name- not unless he also had mind-reading powers or ESP or something.
"I cross the remaining distance in like three strides, jaw tight with my best vigilante scowl. I'm wearing all black; I have a ski cap pulled down over my eyebrows. I'm channeling Batman, protector of the playground instead of Gotham."
Hahaha, some snark is thrown in- EW. Please, no, don't add any SNARK in this...THERE'S TOO MUCH YA BOOKS THESE DAYS WITH SNARKY PROTAGONISTS. It was hilarious at first, but then it later devolved into another relentlessly recycled cliche.
But wait a minute...why does he feel the need to protect his identity with such ridiculous get-up? Why something shady as a ski mask? I heard that's what stereotypical burglars wear or something. But whatever- he's DOING GOOD WITH HIS POWERS.
YESH, AVERY, CHANNEL BATMAN. BE PRODUCTIVE, MY BOY.
"One of the bullies is kicking the little dude's basketball around like it's a soccer ball. It rolls over to me and I stop it with my foot."
I'm debating whether or not if the second sentence needs a comma after the 'and'. I mean, it IS a conjunction...
but WOOHOO. Ohhh, Avery, you amateur badass, you make my heart thrill with your adorably genre-savvy caused-cliched way of acting like a hero!
"Hey! Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"
Hahaha! Even Avery agrees with me on the corniness of it- although he defends it by saying that it's a classic line. Sure, Avery, sure.
Okay, so the bullies aren't too scared of a corny get-up. They start dissing Avery with lame insults. One of the bullies even imply that there's something going on between the adorable-FAIL!basketball-kid and Avery. Ohhhh wow, some yaoi teases...YESH I LOVE THIS BOOK.
By the way- it's becoming increasingly clear that Avery is a First Person Smart-Ass. And that's okay 'cuz HE'S BEING PRODUCTIVE AND NOT BEING A WHINY EMO/BITCH.
"It's cool." I say, strolling closer. I toss the basketball into the air a few times- casually, like I'm messing around. But when it's on its way down for the last time, I bring my hands together and pop it like a balloon."
Wow, Avery, real macho. I hope the little kid wasn't too in love with the basketball- or otherwise, YOU JUST DESTROYED SOMEONE ELSE'S PROPERTY. But, otherwise, it sounds pretty cool. At the very least, it freaked the bullies out and drove them away.
The bullies become HUGE FAILS at running away and suffers humiliating setbacks during their escape. They run at least a hundred feet until one of them starts throwing threats at Avery. Avery, of course, snorts and rolls his eyes.
He checks up on the little kid- ooh! Hey, check this baby out:
' "You broke my basketball." Sniff." ' The kid points out that Avery broke the basketball! Oh, book, I love you! MARRY ME MARRY ME MARRY ME.
"Sorry about that. I'll buy you a new one, okay?" I crouch down next to him, dig out my wallet, and offer him twenty bucks- more than half of my buy-Henry-a-last minute-birthday-gift budget."
Ummm, Avery, I get that you're a Nice Guy and all, but I think you should care a bit more about your friend's birthday party...but then again, the little kid IS adorable so...
The kid refuses the money, saying that he doesn't want to play sports anymore 'cuz he's so small. D'awwww. Avery, being a wonderful man, cheers the kid up in a Cool Big Sis sort of way.
I LOVE YOU AVERY PLEASE MARRY ME. Man, I sound kinda like Belarus...BUT WHO CAN BLAME ME?! THIS PROTAGONIST IS SO AWESOME THAT I WANT TO GIVE HIM A HIGH FIVE.
Already, his character's getting pretty fleshed out. He's a nice guy who really wants to use his powers to save his neighborhood from various menaces. And he's obviously compassionate about other people- but he also has the flaw of doing things recklessly, as seen from that part where he pops the basketball without thinking about how it was the kid's property.
But uh oh- my newest literary crush is now struck down with some kind of illness that makes him wicked cold. He then employs Tell-Not-Show and says "Something's wrong with me."
Duh, Sherlock- your body's shaking with cold sweat. But then again, you know what would've made this scene better? If you pointed out details of how the sun's out, how the kid's wearing a tank top and shorts- just anything that contrasts against your own condition. It makes your illness much more threatening and dramatic- trust me.
Avery walks the kid home like a gentleman
Hey, look, a lightning bolt! It splits the first chapter in half, lol. Hey, guys, since it's 3 AM in the morning and all, I think I should go to sleep...so I'll do the second half later.