Where I Stopped: Chapter 10, wherein I became tired of the pretentious little freaks that pervade the entire book.
Why I Stopped: A potent combination of my least favourite fictional character trope, and an undercurrent of homophobia. Also, hipster-ness.
What it’s About: Kaia can see monsters. They sometimes attack him. This doesn’t bother him, because he’s way too cool to care, but like in the hipster way. He’s so cool he doesn’t know what cool is. He meets three people with the same ability: Trixie, Bryan, and Paige. The four of them receive super powers. Along with Paige’s roommate, Carly, who missed the bus for super powers, they go out into the world to vanquish (lame) monsters.
The characters in the book are all extremely interesting. They are so different from everyone else that they might just be a subspecies of humans, called Homo sapiens alienus. Black-haired Kaia wears dark clothes that absorb light and cheer, and funnel it into the dark vortex that is his soul. (That last part was made up, but I’m willing to bet it’s true). Trisha, or Trixie, as Kaia re-names her (and for some reason, she is okay with strangers re-naming her), has pink and white hair, and a spiky goth bracelet, as well as a fake lip ring. Jack, though young in limb, has a full beard. Paige has purple hair and multiple face piercings. Carly has the side of her head shaved and her hair bleached white.
In short, all of them look like they belong in a Jabong ad for “Being Yourself”, which essentially means looking as strange as possible and not caring that regular people cross to the other side of the street when they see you.
The book in general is rather satirical, and makes fun of the characters and the situation in general, although sometimes the pretentious hipster vibes coming off of it are really strong and I have to turn away so it doesn’t turn me into one of them.
Trixie is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, defined. She’s cute, and vulnerable, and exists to make Kaia’s life better. She promises to break up with her boyfriend for Kaia five minutes after meeting him in the street. She lets Kaia call her Trixie, instead of Trisha, which kinda freaks me out. I mean, you guys just met, and he’s already giving you a new name? I may be wrong, but I think most people wouldn’t let a stranger re-name their pet canary, let alone themselves. Let me repeat this, guys: THEY MET ON THE SIDEWALK AS STRANGE STRANGERS.
“Kaia wondered if Carly was crazy because she was a lesbian, or if she was already crazy when she realized she was a lesbian, or if she just happened to be crazy and also a lesbian.” Crazy because she was a lesbian? That sentiment is neither logical nor funny. Every time a chapter features Carly, the author reminds everyone that she’s lesbian.
Despite the book’s shortcomings (see above), it’s certainly a worthwhile read, as long as the stuff that bothered me doesn’t bother you as much. Or maybe you can ignore it better, the way everybody tries to ignore the racism and/or sexism in classics, like The Secret Garden. Not that I’m comparing it to The Secret Garden, or insinuating that the overall enjoyment in reading it cancels out the negative, like in that book, because it didn’t, at least, for me. Well, that came out horribly hipster-sounding. UGH.