The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour takes place over the course of a week when newly graduated best friends Colby and Bev set off on their post-grad adventure, touring the Pacific Northwest with Bev’s band The Disenchantments and then setting off on a yearlong backpacking tour of Europe. Colby is excited to have a chance to see his mom who’s studying French in Paris, and spend time with Bev, who he’s always been in love with because of course this is where this book is going. However, Bev seems distant and nervous and finally reveals to Colby that she’s staying behind to go to RISD in the fall. Now he has to spend the next week on the music tour with her and her bandmates, Meg and Alexa, and figure out why she decided to make such huge plans without telling him.
I really disliked this book and I’m not going to waste your time with a longer summary because that’s the gist of it. This book, like its characters, is so self-important and desperately wants to be deep and profound when really it’s superficial and hackneyed. Oh wow, Alexa and Meg have TWO DADS and Bev’s experimented with BISEXUALITY, how MODERN! They all went to an ARTS high school and are ARTSY and DEEP and THOUGHTFUL and TALENTED. Except they’re more dull than matte eggshell paint and more self-involved than a Kardashian. Colby spends the whole trip drawing pictures of Bev’s neck, Bev is withdrawn and quiet, and Colby mopes that Bev is withdrawn and quiet and is abandoning him and will never love him. Throughout the book it kind of sounds like Bev’s been trying to hint to Colby that she’s just not that into him and he still hasn’t taken the hint and is waiting for her to realize she’s loved him all this time. That’s really all they do, with Alexa and Meg piping in with little things to assert their individual quirks but they’re not too memorable. Meg has pink hair and gets a tattoo and Alexa is super into fate. They’re SOOO COOOOL, right? When Meg gets her tattoo they discover a photo of a tattoo of Colby’s dad’s band’s album cover in a book of tattoo photos and decide they must find out why someone got that tattoo, with the help of the tattoo artist. Why? I’m not completely sure…maybe it was Alexa’s thing with fate, and Colby hoping for a cool, romantic story? I don’t know. Anyway, this storyline wraps up Colby’s dilemma.
It was painful to get through this book because the writing, both narration and dialogue, were trying hard to sound profound and came off sounding like a massive pile of pseudo-artistic bullshit that made me want to cry. Enjoy the following examples:
“I’m such a cliché except for the fact that he’s pouring me soda waters instead of shots and doesn’t seem all that sympathetic to what I’m going through.” Gee, Colby, wait till you’re in your late 20s-early 30s and see if you care about the lame problems of 18-year-old.
“”Around the corner. River Bar and Grill.” “Is there a river near here?” Alexa asks, excited. Melvin points to me to sign the receipt, hands me the keys, and says, “No.””
Truly eye-roll worthy. Just like an 18-year-old trying too hard to be ironic and emotionally detached, the writing comes off as desperate. This was supposed to be a story about coming of age and finding yourself, terribly boring story telling buried the message.
Rating: 1 out of 5 vans named Melinda
2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Categories: A Book That Takes Place During the Summer, A Book About A Road Trip, A Book From the Library