I haven’t really written a negative review in awhile it seems, so I suppose it was only a matter of time that I would pick up a book and have to do this. I’m really bummed that it was this book, though. I heard about My Kind of Crazy from the author at a book convention and it sounded really great! Well, it wasn’t.
Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.
I put this book down last night and thought, “Wow, I actually didn’t like this very much.” While I was reading it I was sort of into it, but once I closed the book I realized it just felt off. Have you had this feeling too??
Maybe it was the fact that the characters felt too unrealistic to me. Everyone was more of an idea than a fully fleshed out character. Peyton felt too enigmatic to be real, and her situation seemed to work itself out too nicely by the end of the book to feel realistic. The fact that Hank kept thinking she was “not like anyone else he’d met” and “the most beautiful girl ever” (not direct quotes but you get the idea) only made her feel less like a character and more like a device.
Hank himself wasn’t much better. Throughout the whole book he’s described as poor, awkward, shy, dull, etc. and yet the popular girl suddenly starts talking to him, he seems to have experience with girls, and Peyton says that a ton of girls check him out at school. These ideas never really met in the middle, so it felt like one second the author wanted us to believe he was an outcast/too awkward and the next he’s just pretty normal, for a YA contemporary at least.
The fact that Hank spent most of his time with Nick didn’t help his social status, as most people thought Nick was part of his father’s mafia. Nick seemed like a really random character and, again, we seemed to have an instant switch on his personality and conflicts that were tied up too nicely by the end of the book to seem realistic.
The more serious topics in the book include death, grief, guilt, abuse, pyromania, drug addiction, and alcoholism. I appreciate that the author tried to incorporate these and make the book more than just a romance/prom book, but these topics were introduced, remained stagnant through much of the book, escalated quickly, and were resolved right at the end of the book. The conversations Hank and Peyton tried to have about these topics only seemed to serve as a device to make them fall into a very instalovey relationship.
The sudden changes in the characters’ personalities and the lack of deeper exploration of the more serious content made the book’s pacing overall pretty choppy and inconsistent. It was a quick read, largely because it felt like nothing was happening in the middle of the book so I skimmed parts of it, but I’d rather have a book take a bit longer to really appreciate the complexities of the story.
I was really excited to finally be reading this book: I liked hearing the author talk about it, it has been on my tbr since earlier this year so I got to finally cross it off, and it seemed like a funny and unique story. There were certainly some comical parts throughout this book but the majority of the writing fell flat for me. I don’t see myself recommending this anytime soon.