Tuesday, September 13, 2011

YA Review: My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brooklyn Pierce is no stranger to catastrophic trouble. When she was two years old, she captured the hearts of millions when she fell down a mine shaft and was trapped for fifty-two hours. Now, at 15 years old, "Baby" Brooklyn is re-examining her life. Because "when you're being handcuffed and lowered into the backseat of a squad car," you kind of have to. She's just let a load of peer-pressure by her best friend Shayne Kingsley land her in serious trouble. Again.

This time, things can't be smoothed over by a flip of Shayne's gorgeous blonde hair, or by her quick ideas on what Brooks should say. No, burning down one of her mother's model homes can't be fixed by anyone but Brooklyn herself, by completing 200 hours of community service at a nearby nursing home and devoting her time to helping rebuild the home. Instead of focusing on the trouble she's in though, Brooklyn is more concerned with finding out what has happened to Shayne, since she hasn't seen or heard from her since they were busted by the cops.
One day back in school and she quickly learns that it is no accident she hasn't heard from Shayne. She's been discarded by the queen of the school. Her five-year friendship is over and she's suddenly a nobody.

With no one but herself to talk to, Brooks is convinced that its her bad decision skill that are once again the blame for the predicament she's found herself in, and she's tired of making the wrong decisions. This is how she makes what might be her best decision yet, to start MyLifeundecided.com.

For the next however-many blog posts, Brooks is giving every decision she is faced with over to her readers. From joining the debate team to which book to read in English Lit, and whether she should date the handsome new student or her debate partner, she isn't making any choices on her own. Hey, if America can choose our next big superstar, actor or singer, how hard is it for them to decide whether she should read The Grapes of Wrath?

As a blogger, I was impressed with the idea of this story. Who wouldn't enjoy letting other people handle some of life's tougher choices? But Brooklyn herself was such a well-developed character that the blog played second-fiddle to her antics. She did not exaggerate about those bad decisions of hers, either. She truly made some doozies. LOL

The love/hate relationship between Shayne and Brooklyn, as well as Brooklyn's dependence on it was very familiar. I could relate to her feelings of frustration and confusion, and the humor of her voice was great. Being in first-person made the story fast paced and simple to follow.

The blog readers didn't disappoint either. Their advice to Brooklyn, through polls and comments was great. They steer her towards the tougher choices as opposed to the easy ones she would have made on her own and provide suggestions on dating, friendship and schoolwork. The course they steer her toward makes her teachers and parents happy, but frustrate Brooklyn. While I'd hope that in real life, no teen would attempt a similar project, I'd hope that they would get readers such as these if they did. And Brooklyn tries her best to stick to their decisions.

Teens and even some adults will enjoy reading about how these few weeks of change, help steer Baby Brooklyn into growing up and finally learning how to take responsibility and control for her own decisions and choices.

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