I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.ASK AGAIN LATER by Liza Czukas
Published by Harper Teen on 3/11/2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
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Despite what her name might suggest, Heart has zero interest in complicated romance. So when her brilliant plan to go to prom with a group of friends is disrupted by two surprise invites, Heart knows there's only one drama-free solution: flip a coin.\r\n\r\nHeads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother's best friend really be?\r\n\r\nTails: The theater geek...with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart's interests--even if he wants to share all his feelings?\r\n\r\nHeart's simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all...
I just didn’t find myself getting into ASK AGAIN LATER by Liz Czukas, for a number of reasons: no story development, no world-building, lack of character development. It really only got two stars from me because of some light humor. Heart doesn’t date guys because she has this hang-up about her mother. So not dating resolves everything that could potentially go wrong, even though she knows it’s BS, and so does everyone else. She’s nice enough, I suppose, but just your average teenager who doesn’t really stand out. But here we go with the whole trope of “the average girl is always the center of attention” again! This is seriously starting to become overdone, guys. There is nothing spectacular about her: she’s not a nerd, but she’s not popular. She doesn’t date, she’s not slutty, she has divorced parents, her dad isn’t rich, her brother is neither a loser nor a genius (nor is she). She is the girl you forget about unless you are forced to pay attention to her. And while not every guy is tripping over their feet to get to her (thanks for that, by the way, because that story is old, too) – and yes yes, I know average chicks get guys too, because hello, I am one – I just don’t see how her
life day story was interesting. And that’s all it was. One day in the life of Heart while she decides who she is going to go to prom with. Except there is this weird alternate universe thing, so was it sci-fi or was it…? I don’t even know what to call that, but I didn’t like it. The story of prom is told in “Heads” or “Tails” and each one is a reality she lives and the perspective jumps between them. Heart is propositioned by two boys, and decides to break her “no-dating” policy to give a pity date to one of these two (OH PLEASE GIRL) dudes: a friend and her brother’s jock friend. A pity date for a jock from an average girl actually deserves an eye roll: Anyway, so the tale is told in both perspectives and what would happen if she chose one or the other. I do give props to Czukas for merging the storylines together so that they meshed well. The message that you can’t avoid fate was pretty clear and that was actually neat. I am willing to bet that wasn’t easy to write, but it was a bit painful to read, not gonna lie. This is not because I dislike alternate realities; I actually really like them. But in contemporaries? PASS. I just feel like this could have been so much better than it was. It wasn’t horrible, don’t get me wrong. Parts of it were cute and funny; in fact the first page is what grabbed my attention, because it was so well-written. It just unfortunately dropped off quickly from that, and it’s all because of the (lack of) plot and the characters. There is no world-building, and it’s not like you need a lot, because after all, this is a contemporary (or something, I’m still not sure with that whole alternate reality thing going on), but some details would have been nice. There was little character development for anyone. Heart is really the only character who experiences any kind of growth…in one freaking day, which is rather unbelievable. And it’s never explained why she’s so freaking great. We’re just supposed to accept that she’s the chosen heroine of this story and that’s it. There are sadly no surprises, either. I knew who she was going to end up with at 7% into the book. Blah. I guess I just like my novels with a little more in them and this wasn’t it. Some will really like this because parts are snarky and fun, but others will find it lacking. Probably a good read for the much younger YA crowd, like middle school.