To be honest, this book kind of wore me out. I’m not sure if it was just the challenge of dealing with a narrator who has the judgement of a three year old or if it was the format, which required a lot of product placement. Both of those elements are essential to the humor and the strong narrative voice in the story, though, and are actually what I think many YA readers will find appealing.
Everyday reality is a drag™.
FUN®—the latest in augmented reality—is fun (yay!) but it’s also frustrating, glitchy and dangerously addictive (boo!). Just when everyone else is getting on, seventeen-year-old Aaron O’Faolain wants off.
But first, he has to complete his Application for Termination, and in order to do that he has to deal with his History—not to mention the present, including his grandfather’s suicide and a series of clues that may (or may not) lead to buried treasure. As he attempts to unravel the mystery, Aaron is sidetracked again…and again. Shadowed by his virtual “best friend” Homie, Aaron struggles with love, loss, dog bites, werewolf pills, community theater, wild horses, wildfires and the fact (deep breath) that actual reality can sometimes surprise you.
Sean McGinty’s strikingly profound and laugh-out-loud funny debut unearths a world that is eerily familiar, yet utterly original. Discover what it means to come to the end of fun.
Aaron is an impulsive idiot, but he is trying to move in the right direction, and his attempts at taking charge of his own fate are often disastrous and hilarious. I liked him, but I felt like he needed a babysitter. As far as the cast of supporting characters went, they were just as likeable, if often as misguided as Aaron. If you are looking for a book to make you laugh, this is probably a good choice. But I, of course, want something more than just laughs, so I was disappointed that the satire of the story was so subtle. My initial impression was that this book was going to push at issues of technology and the environment, but, by the end, I was confused about what the message really was. Okay, I’m pretty sure the message was that humans suck and only really care about their own happiness and entertainment, even when they know it comes at a great cost. That might be more disturbing than the thought that the author just lost the thread. Either way, I wasn’t quite satisfied that Aaron didn’t take some action, and I’m not talking about some huge action, which would have been out of character. A verbal warning about the apparent negatives of Fun! to his nearest and dearest would have satisfied me. While I’m not sure my high school students will be able to articulate the issue, I do think the book will provoke some discussion, and that is always a good thing. Overall, this wasn’t my cup of tea, but I can see many of my readers, guys especially, enjoying it. Language and situations are most appropriate for grades 9+.
I received an ARC from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.