January 9, 2016

Review: The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski

Book and ARC reviews are posted under this feature!

The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski

*Digital ARC was received from Entangled: Crush through Netgalley*

Genre: YA (Contemporary)
Pub. Date: January 11, 2016

Get a copy here!

First Impression
Truthfully I was thrilled with the main idea of the story. A girl came up with a grand scheme to make the boy next door (which also her best-friend) see her in different light through the power of social media account. The blurb clearly screamed funny and light-hearted journey of love between longtime best-friends and I happened to crave some light and cutesy romance as my first read of the year. Well, it was funny… at some parts, but the whole story? Unfortunately, not so much. 

Emma and Eli had been best friends ever since she came to the neighborhood ten years ago. What started as simple gesture of help had grown into a tight friendship of two. Emma and Eli were practically inseparable and everyone knew that. What everyone didn’t know, though, behind all those casual hang-outs in pizza parlor and those innocent movie-times spent on Sunday night, there’s some unspoken feeling whirling around them. Emma had felt it for Eli since that first encounter on the curb and the feeling only grew stronger over time. But how exactly could a girl admit of having a special feeling for her very own best friend? For all she knew it was most certainly one-sided thing. Admitting it to Eli would just ruin everything between them, and she was sure as hell wouldn’t want that. Until Emma had it enough. 
Ten years of hiding her feeling behind the curtain, she was now ready to let it out for Eli to see. Well, a part of it, to be exact. And that, too, would be done virtually instead of through reality. With the help from a fake facebook account and some little genuine touch of Emma within all the words being sent, Eli would get a repeat of getting to know ‘Emma’ again from the start, complete with all her true feeling in clear display. Hopefully in this the ‘new’ package, Eli would finally feel something for ‘Emma’. Something he probably hadn’t felt for the real her in the past ten years. 
Yet this time, Emma might be the one who need to reveal the truth behind the other’s curtain.

Hazy Roller Coaster Ride
I’m not saying that this book is horrible or such. In fact, The Girlfriend Request has quite an idea of a teen love story with that entire shenanigan the girl is up to. That part itself succeeded in luring me into reading this book. Basically I liked the idea of scheme in this book. I once read a YA with quite similar plot and enjoyed it a lot. So it was a little disappointing that despite all my giddiness in the beginning, I found this book all wrong in the end. I mean, it felt like it didn’t quite hit the right button. Like when you ride a roller coaster, all excited when the cars slowly riding up to reach the peak hidden behind the mist; then when you slice through it, turned out the peak merely three meters high. The only thing that redeems your disappointment is at least the scenery around is beautiful enough to enjoy. 
It started with a scene where Emma was about to start her seemingly brilliant plotting to get the boy next door fall for her. I’m not gonna lie but first chapter just had me all giddier to turn the next pages quickly. Then I reached chapter four and it practically went downhill from there. 

Characters: Half Relatable – Half Unbearable
Emma is actually pretty relatable at first. Her feeling of crushing someone, a best friend, the confusion, the shyness, the insecurity, the ache of falling deeply for someone we thought we don’t have a chance with; I think most people would easily relate with her in this. But then when something in the plotting altered and she had to come up with a second plan to keep it going, I objected how her feeling could shift easily back and forth like that. She became somehow indecisive and it all, for me, was for no solid reason.
Eli, in the other side, is the best friend any girl would dream of having. Caring, charming, protective, and understanding. What I found lacking about him is the way his emotions were described here. His was a bit too explosive for a boy. Also the shifting of his feeling (this is the part that I mentioned above about things started go downhill from chapter four onward) for Emma was out of nowhere and lacked of background story. Don’t get me wrong, but I was beyond happy that Eli feels the same way to Emma (it’s not a spoiler anyway, it’s on the blurb). I adored them so much when they’re together, whatever the type of their relationship was at the time. Their moments were just so cute and made me smile despite all the unnecessary drama flying around the book. But I would like to see how things actually going on between them before each character even had monologues about liking each other as more than a friend. Not just simply a change that happen within one chapter, few pages apart. 

The Writing: Plus-Minus
There was this scene when Emma hit the point of frustration about her own feeling for Eli that the tears just fell randomly when her mom asked her about it; she kind of threw the hair brush she’d been using when the curl in her hair couldn’t be tamed. I loved that the scene was so real I couldn’t help feeling a little ache for her out of sympathy. My only issue about the writing lies in the way the author often slipped too much unnecessary scenes that didn’t really hold any significant importance to the main point. Too many descriptions that could’ve been cut out. And I haven’t even mentioned the dramaS (yes, capital S in the back). Too many dramas and none of them were essential enough to build the plot. The whole plot of the story is actually pretty simple: Emma and Eli, best-friends who fall for each other secretly; Emma wanted more so she made a plan to get Eli falls for her (though, he already had); Eli seemed to fall for ‘fake’ Emma, when in actuality he fell for ‘real’ Emma too; Emma got sad Eli liked the ‘fake’ her, she came up with another idea to push Eli’s true feeling out―she fake-dated another guy; Eli got jealous; Eli forgave Emma; Eli and Emma got together after admitting each other’s feelings. It might only be 216 pages but it felt like 12382703430498 pages long for me, thanks to all the miscommunication dramas being slipped here and there that made it sooooo long and boring for some parts. 

Final Thought(s)
I’m really really really sad that I ended up disliking this book, especially when I was so damn excited to read it in the first place. As I said before, The Girlfriend Request isn’t a horrible read that you couldn’t even finish. There were some parts that actually pretty funny and sweet. And many more parts that had potential to be explored more. The idea of creating a fake facebook account, for one, could be something that would emanate a climax that oh-so-shocking when it was revealed. Eli’s discovery of Emma’s plotting could be something that oh-so-funny. The problem of this book is, despite its so many potential here and there, the story delivery just didn’t present it right. Simply put, it’s like an actually funny joke but it comes out not that funny because of the weak punch lines.


Post a Comment