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Displaced by Aneka Rodriguez

Displaced has a fantastic cover and a good recommendation from my well-respected writer friend. I was told it's a young adult novel that's cute, just because it reminds you of your own high school days. Yes, that fucking place where everyday is a fucking popularity contest.

Oh, wait. That's real life.

Anyhow, because my friend thought he was overselling it, he warned me about high expectations and that this book is far from fantastic. The only good thing about it is, I guess, nostalgia.

Which probably is why I think the book was problematic. Part of it feels like it's written by an actual high school girl on the brink of graduating. The other, well, is an older writer writing about a high school girl on the brink of graduating.

We have Gabriela struggling with Pyshics, the return of her distant mother, forming what it seems like her first crush/love (which is really a whole lot late for a senior─and this is not because this is me who's talking, and yes, I'm defensive, but we should all know well enough that you don't have your ├╝ber crush by 15 or 16), and guitar jamming sessions in between.

The book really takes you back to those days of teacher-ruled classrooms, guitars, and seatworks. I know a few friends who could even probably relate to Gabriela's distant relationship with her newly-returned mother. But the authenticity ends there.

Somewhere along the way, it became too formulaic for me. I knew her first love wouldn't go well. And I knew that her competitor would be her best friend. But did the writer have to make it look like a virgin-versus-whore thing? And besides, I'm surprised at Gabriela. She's supposed to be a bit ahead of superficiality. I'm surprised she didn't think much about her hatred for the asshole who tore apart her friendship with her best friend. I'm glad that eventually she made peace with her best friend. But why does the writer have to make karma come along and punish the whore? Gabriela got into her dream university while her best friend, who stole Gabriela's first love, flunked the entrance.

Displaced is a nice attempt at a young adult fiction which actually talks about other things than being in love. It has quotable quotes, for sure, but I find myself missing Una and Miguel (a pop young adult romance book) than liking Displaced.

Maybe I did expect much. The cover and the insides just looked too pretty not to expect more from the story.



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