The Boy in the Woods: An Update on the Baffling Situation We Now Find Ourselves in

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This post is the direct (totally unexpected) sequel to a previous post.

Out of a strong sense of duty to God/Forces of the Universe/Code of Honour I know find it necessary to post the following disclosure. Yesterday, when my existence went into a downward spiral of meaninglessness, I binge-read the entire thing. It was pretty good, I guess?

Am I glad I read it? Yeah, kinda. I mean, I was pretty bored.

But am I glad I read it? Nah, not really. It was good, not great.

Still, I suppose it was better than I expected, overall. None too realistic, but there you are. You cannot really expect these things to be. Wattpad readers are a barbaric, violent lot. If the ending you serve them is not what they expected, or if there aren’t an adequate number of “moments” between the two lead characters, they will immediately commence slinging mud at you in the comments section.

The meeker ones will quietly slink away, and you will not notice until you see the drastic drop in the number of reads each chapter gets.

And so it goes, the vicious cycle of trying to appease readers in order to garner more of them to win Wattys and generally acquire fame and success.

Ah, well.

Monsters Suck (Wherein I realize that weird things happen to weirder people)

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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.

Image Credit: TheStardrop on wattpad.com

The Boy in the Woods (Wherein I realize that if no one is paying me, I might as well stop reading this book)

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Where I Stopped: Chapter 15, wherein I finally realized that the funny knot in my stomach that happens whenever I read this book was nausea.

Why I Stopped: There are a Little Red Riding Hood’s basket full of reasons why. And also, no one is paying me to continue reading this sickeningly cutesy book, because if they were, I would totally do it. But for nothing less than twenty bucks. Because I have principles.

What it’s About: A wee little orphan lass named Jess goes to live with her Big Bad Uncle Jonathon, and loneliness ensues. So she starts taking walks in the woods, because that’s what children did when they needed a hug, apparently.

Moxie. Spunk. Pluck. Call it whatever you want, either way, Jess doesn’t have it. She’s an innocent, sweet little girl, in a harsh world, and it seems like with every chapter, we are called upon to observe her sweetness, the helpless little infant. (She’s thirteen, by the way).

This is probably a good time to point out that this is a historical fiction book, set in the… 60’s? 70’s? Is there any surefire way to determine that? Jess is a fan of Elvis, and I’m sure that’s a solid clue, except I don’t know what it means. Whatever it is, it does a pretty good job maintaining it’s old time-y voice. By which I mean that the narrator doesn’t sound like a millenial. Or even close. So there’s a point for that.

Also, the other lead character, Marty, is just a lot bipolar. Their conversations go something like this:

Marty: Jess, no matter what, you cannot talk to me at school. This is of paramount importance. The balance of karma/right and wrong/potatoes in the universe depends on it, alright?

Jess: (chirps) Sure thing, Marty! But you won’t get mad at me for ignoring you, right?

Marty: Um, NO, of course not, why would I?

Jess: Okay.

(Afterschool).

Marty: Jess, why the heck were you ignoring me? Life sucks, and so do you, you little brat!

Jess: But you told me to!

Marty: Oh, right. My bad. It’s just that the emotional turmoil of having my only friend in the world not talk to me got so overwhelming, that I decided to lash out at aforementioned only friend.

Jess: Okay.Want a cookie?

Fine, I exaggerated. A little bit. On the other hand, the book in general is still pretty good, which is why I wrote this anyway. This is sort of a “Hey, you might find that the positive attributes of this book outweigh the negatives, even though I don’t!” kind of thing. I liked it, but not enough to continue, however, in another life/parallel universe I might have. This is more than a book reccommendation, but not quite a review. So like, the book almost deserves to be read completely, but not quite.

Image Source: KatherineArlene on wattpad.com

The Trouble With Kissing Connor, by Jo Watson

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This book had me hooked from the first page. I tumbled down headfirst into a cotton candy scented tunnel, and was dazed and giddy when I reached the other end. After the sugary pink haze passed, I realized several things. First, the plot wasn’t at all original. Sure, this was the first time that I had read anything like it, but there are droves of Wattpad books with exactly the same storyline.

This was a rather morose realization, as a large part of my love for it stemmed from the fact that I thought it was unique. As this dawned, it became clear that my book-which-could-do-no-wrong was far from flawless. Or perhaps I had (mistakenly) used the wrong standards to measure it.

Second, all of it’s characters are well-known archetypes. Sadie, the soccer-playing girl, is a mix of two archetypes: the rebellious tomboy girl, and the inevitably pathetic girl-next-door who gets passed up in favour of more glamourous characters. Connor is the golden boy: the athletic, good-looking boy who “yearns for more than this provincial life”, and supposedly has hidden depths. Sophie’s mom is the retired beauty queen who inflicts ridiculous female beauty standards on her offspring. Sophie’s twin sister Mackenzie is the evil, blond cheerleader. (What is it with the blond cheerleaders, I ask you? I have not met a single evil blond cheerleader, which leads me to doubt that they exist outside of the movies and books like this one).

These realizations considerably dimmed the halo that I had perceived in the book, until it was more or less nonexistent. However, I leave it to you as to how much this really matters, as it is certainly written well. If you perceive the above faults as perfectly acceptable, then it is perfectly acceptable for me to say that you will enjoy reading it.

Algorithm, by Arthur M. Doweyko

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Friend 1: “So I was reading this ridiculous sci-fi book on Wattpad, and-”

Me: “Don’t you know better than that by now?”

Friend 2: “I know right! Who reads sci-fi on Wattpad?”

Me: “There’re barely any sci-fi books on Wattpad, which means the ones that are there suck.”

Friend 1: “Yeah. It was pretty dumb.” (laughs)

Yes, that conversation actually took place. (No, I don’t always interrupt people. No, I’m not pushy! Stop accusing me of things! I can’t believe I’m yelling at a voice inside my head. Oh my God, shut up already). Anyway, I now take back everything I’ve ever said about sci-fi on Wattpad, which is not very difficult, because I haven’t really said much. Sci-fi is a majorly understarved genre on Wattpad. If genres were Christmas stockings, then Romance, Chick lit and Humour would be three giant red stockings filled with chocolate and toys, and Science fiction would be the sad little gray sock with the chewed pencil inside. I know. Pathetic, really.

Science fiction has to be built on strong, rational scientific principles. There’s a reason that it’s not called fantasy. If the science in the science fiction doesn’t tally, the novel will inevitably not succeed due to niggling logical errors. This is Algorithm’s strongest point. The main characters are an organic chemistry professor and a microbiologist, and wherever the plot is called upon to provide a believable scientific explanation, it doesn’t disappoint.

The characters are well-mapped. The author’s inventiveness is really remarkable, although, I have watched very few alien movies and therefore am far from qualified to identify plot tropes. At the end of the book, the author mentions that this is only Part 1 of the complete, published novel, but I don’t think this should deter anybody from reading it on Wattpad. It reads as a complete novel, albeit with an open ending.

So, yeah. Science fiction may not be a category I’d recommend, but undoubtedly it is not without its gems.

Image Sourse: aweyken on wattpad.com

Short Stories by Robert Thier

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Me adding this to the list kind of violates a couple of unwritten rules. First, all the books I have reccommended so far are completed. As in, finished. You know what you call a collection of short stories that has (as of now) only one short story? Incomplete. Second, all of them have been full length novels. But I figure that’s okay. Third, I’ve only been reccommending one book per author because, really, none of their other books were good enough to make the cut. Besides, this way you can discover more authors altogether. The author of this short story also wrote another book on this list.

The blatant disregard I show for my own unwritten rules only prove how much I would go through for this story to be read by other people. Through, rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, and so on and so forth. Because it’s really, really, unbelievably good. Okay, so it’s a collection and it’s not completed, but if the first story is anything to go by, it’s pretty much going to be a collection of masterpieces.

The first story, titled The Little Typo’s Tale follows a cute little typo, as he hides in his hut against the pounding rain of semicolons and commas, away from the nasty proofreaders who hunt him. Are you in love yet?

This bite-sized work of art is perfection in its truest, purest form. Sigh.

Fangirl! by Angel Lawson

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As this list of Wattpad books worth reading, as of now, contains only A-listers, and this is kind of second-rung compared to the others, I was at a loss to whether I ought to add this one or not. But then, Wattpad has such a woefully limited collection of books that don’t suck so I thought… well, why not?

The book’s main character, Ruby, is an enormous fan of a series of zombie comics. If you’ve ever been a hugely passionate fan of anything (which is a pretty common condition these days), this will seem pretty familiar. The protagonist goes on to visit FantasyCon, her favourite comic convention, where she actually meets the author of her favourite zombie series, Gabe Foster. Pretty much the crazy fan’s dream come true.

Funnily enough, despite being fiction about fiction, it is very hooking. Downright addictive, even. The main character did get on my nerves a little bit. Especially during the middle, when she sort of contradicted herself. (She actually asked the comic book’s author, Gabe Foster, if “a girl like me” could get a part in a TV series based on the book, and then repeatedly said no when Gabe offered her the role).

The narrative is fast-paced, thanks to the bad decisions the protagonist is constantly making, as teenagers (according to old people) are wont to do. She voluntarily helps out the lead male actor in the zombie show, Andrew Xavier, even at a cost to her own interests. He’s not even her friend. Don’t ask me why, it’s stupid.

Anyway, if you’re looking for something new to read, give it a go. It’s worthy of making the list, and is heaps better 95.6% of the books on Wattpad. That number is the product of deep analysis and not a number I made up on the spot (based on personal experience, of course).

Image Source: Angel Lawson on wattpad.com