Book Review · What's in a Name Challenge

REVIEW: Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot

Pants on FirePants on Fire
Meg Cabot
eBook Edition

Goodreads synopsis: Katie Ellison is not a liar.  But she can’t exactly tell the truth, either–not when she’s juggling two boyfriends, secretly hating the high school football team everyone else worships, and trying to have the best summer ever. At least Katie has it all under control (sort of). Her biggest secret, what really happened the night Tommy Sullivan is a freak was spray-painted on the junior high gymnasium wall, is safe. That is, until Tommy comes back to town. Katie is sure he’s going to ruin all her plans, and she’ll do anything to hang on to her perfect existence. Even if it means telling more lies. Even if, now that Tommy’s around, she’s actually–truthfully–having the time of her life.

Honestly, I chose this book pretty much based on the title.  One of the categories for the What’s in a Name Challenge required a title to have “fire” or the equivalent (such as flames, smoke, etc.).   I scoured Goodreads searching these terms and this seemed to be an OK one (most of the books with those words in the title tended to have covers that looked like romance novels that I’m just not into).  I also recognized the author’s name, but couldn’t remember if I had read anything by her.

Anyway, this wasn’t very good.  The main character was annoying.  She’s supposed to be at the top of her class, yet the writing isn’t all that sophisticated (using “like” a lot, and saying stuff such as “so my mom was all like…” rather than “and my mom said”).

We don’t find out until way late in the book what was written about Tommy on the junior high gym, but the synopsis tells us right away.  The book had this build up to what it actually said and who wrote it, but when they synopsis gives away what it says, why is there such a build up?  I thought the whole situation was pretty extreme.  I didn’t care about any of the characters.   The only good part about the story was the speech Katie made at the end, which would be in line with the character Tommy knows and loves, but not with the one we read about throughout the book.

I just did a search on Goodreads for Meg Cabot and I know why her name is familiar: she wrote The Princess Diaries.  I thought the Disney move was cute, and marked the book to read a while back.  I’ll give that one a chance, but if it’s anything like this, I’ll probably give up early on.  And if this is an indication of how the rest of her work is, I’m all set.

You know, I hate giving bad reviews, especially if I see others have enjoyed the book.  If I happen to see a number of good reviews, I try to think back and see if there is anything I did enjoy about it and try to soften my review, but that usually doesn’t happen.

I’ve been reading some reviews on Goodreads and still feel the same way: nothing for me to soften my review (in fact, I’ve seen some pretty scathing stuff!) and I agree with the few 1 & 2 star reviews I’ve read, but I’m dumbfounded when I see that some people gave this 4 or 5 stars!  I just don’t see the quality in it to give more than 2 (and I think that’s being generous).  SEMI-SPOILER: There was one review that made a really good point: how is it that Tommy was run out of town for exposing a lie, yet the main character goes around with lie after lie and all her cheating?  No type of punishment for Katie at all.

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