The End of Fun by Sean McGinty was kind of fun, but it was also stressful

The End of Fun by Sean McGinty was kind of fun, but it was also stressful

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.


Goodreads Summary

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.

My Thoughts

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.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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