Notes from the Blender – Trish Cook, Brendan Halpin
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Summary: Declan, a rebellious teenage boy who doesn’t really fit in anywhere in his high school, lives with his dad after his parents’ divorce. Neilly, a beautiful, popular girl in the in crowd of her high school, dates popular boys and lives with her mom. While these two teens seem to have nothing in common, their worlds collide when their parents announce that they’re going to get married. Will they all be one big, happy family?
Review: Notes from the Blender was a quick, engaging read that kept me entertained from start to finish.
One of the truly outstanding parts of this book was definitely the characters. Declan seemed like such an authentic teenage boy, as he was constantly thinking about girls. He also loved death metal and didn’t really relate well to his peers, which immediately made me sympathetic to his character. I really appreciated his “devil may care” attitude, and his reactions to everything going on his life were genuine. This was especially apparent as it related to the impending marriage between his father and Neilly’s mother. His life was changing rapidly, and as much as he tried to maintain his stony façade, it began to crumble when he was by himself.
Much like Declan, Neilly was also a wonderful narrator. Declan assumed she was perfect, and he actually had a huge crush on her. As time went on, however, and the duo began to talk more, Neilly revealed that there was much more to her than meets the eye, which isn’t a surprise as impressions are often deceiving.
Friendship was one of the primary aspects of this book, and watching Declan and Neilly’s relationship evolve was wonderful. The more they talked, the more they realized they had in common, which, in turn, developed into a genuine bond over time. If one was basing everything on outside appearances, these characters couldn’t have been more different, yet when the superficial layers were removed, everything changed.
Family was also of upmost importance in the book. Both Neilly and Declan’s parents were actively involved in their lives, and it was a delight to see them turn to their parents in times of trouble. If one of their family members were attacked, each character would step in to defend them. This doesn't always happen in a lot of books, but I'm very glad it happened here, as it is pretty true to life.
In addition to all of these great aspects, Notes from the Blender also brought a ton of issues to the table. Of everything presented, the ones that stuck with me the most were LGBT, the pitfalls that occur with divorce and remarriage, what being a high schooler is actually like, alcohol and drug use, and veganism. I especially enjoyed the portions dedicated to LGBT and veganism, even though the authors did get a bit preachy at times.
If you like realistic YA fiction, check out Notes from the Blender!
Read-alikes: Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You - Peter Cameron, Eleanor and Park
- Rainbow Rowell