Weird Girl and What’s His Name by Megan Brothers
In the podunk town of Hawthorne, North Carolina, high school geeks Lula and Rory share everything—sci-fi and fantasy fandom, an obsession with old X-Files episodes, and that feeling that they’ll never quite fit in. Lula and Rory have no secrets from each other; after all, she knows he’s gay, and he understands why she worships the mother that walked out on her. But then Lula discovers that Rory has not only tried out for the football team, but has been having an affair with his middle-aged divorcee boss. With their friendship disrupted, Lula begins to question her very identity, and when she disappears in the middle of the night, Rory is left to survive on his own.
I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it. It takes place in 2008 surrounding the release of the second X-Files movie. (How did I never hear about this movie?) Rory and Lula have been best friends for a long time, and they share a deep love for The X-Files. They watch an episode every Friday night and are even writing a blog with reviews for the full series. There are A LOT of X-Files references in this book. I watched the show occasionally in high school, so I had some context for their discussions. I’m not sure how I would have felt about this book if I did know who Mulder and Scully were.
Speaking of the FBI agents with the most platonic relationship ever, Rory and Lula’s relationship is a great parallel to the TV series. Kudos to Brothers on the “re-telling” nature of this story. But this book is about more than developing feelings for someone you could never have. It’s about a young girl’s quest to understand where she came from and determine her identity…and her sexual preference.
I wanted to like this book, but there were a couple of things I couldn’t get past. The narrator of the book switches half way through from Rory to Lula, and that change made it extremely disjointed for me. Also, some of the drama was just too manufactured. I didn’t believe Rory would react the way he did to Lula’s disappearance. It felt like I was reading three different stories that were mashed together into one novel: (1) Rory and Lula’s friendship, Rory’s secrets, and what they did to their relationship, (2) Lula’s search for her mother and, ultimately, herself, and (3) a completely unexpected and somewhat forced romance thrown in at the end.
That said, I did enjoy the writing, especially when it was in Rory’s voice. I will keep an eye out for Brothers’ next book, and I may pick up one of her other titles in the mean time.
My Rating: 3 stars
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