Monday, November 16, 2015

The Status of All Things

The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke (2015)

Social media-obsessed Kate wants her Hawaii wedding to be perfect. But at the rehearsal dinner her fiance Max calls it off, leaving her devastated. When her Facebook statuses start coming true, Kate uses this power to go back in time and try to save her relationship. She knows that Max had fallen for her coworker Courtney, so Kate uses this information to try and sabotage their budding relationship before it starts. Instead, it seems like everything she does just pushes them closer together.

Be warned, there are spoilers ahead because otherwise it's too difficult to describe some of the most important shortcomings of this book. Up front, I'll just tell you that I don't recommend it. Read on to find out why.

This book had such promise from what I gleaned about this from this post. I thought it was going to be all about how we present ourselves online, and how we get so caught up in creating our social media selves that we miss the opportunity to actually live our lives. In reality, it's about someone who is granted a power to control events, except that her power is pretty limited because certain things are just meant to be. She keeps making the same stupid decisions over and over and not learning. Then all at once she figures it out. The end.

Ok, it also is a bit about how she wants her life to be perfect because she keeps comparing herself to her old college roommate who, based on her Facebook posts, has a perfect life. Which is a great theme, but feels secondary. She even has a moment where she notes that during some of the happiest times of her life she didn't post to social media, but she doesn't reflect on this long enough to learn anything from it.

This novel was disappointing in many ways, but I could forgive the two-dimensional characters and awkward dialogue if the story arc flowed a bit more gracefully. However, Kate's path was not simply meandering, she was going in circles like a dog chasing its tail. Several times it was basically spelled out to her that if she and Max aren't meant to be together maybe she should stop trying to force the situation. Each time she was like "Hmm, maybe I'll try this other thing to win Max back." There is a point at which the source of her wishes says "Some things just aren't meant to be fixed" after which Kate decides that she should use her one remaining wish to go farther back in time. I mean, how stupid are you, Kate? No wonder Max dumped you.

I can suspend disbelief enough for sudden granting of wishes, but I can't stand such bone-headed characters and contrived situations. Everything about this book felt stilted and poorly cobbled together. The characters weren't developed, and one of the lessons of the story seems to be that heterosexual men and women can't be just friends with each other. I expected it to be fairly light and fluffy, but this wasn't even very much fun and was annoying at times. There are plenty of light stories about friendship and romance that are far more satisfying.

No comments: