While I am partial to the New Adult Hero Twitter account, I knew this book, based on the concept of the Brooding YA Hero, would be just as hysterical. The book is formatted as one half writing guide, one half meta-YA story.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me by Carrie Ann DiRisio. Thanks so much to Sky Pony Press for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

This book is kind of hard to explain. It’s part writing guide as told by the archetypical character, Broody McHottiepants, and part the actual story of Broody writing the writing guide. I know. It sounds confusing but you get used to it after a while. Anyways so in the writing guide, a Broody outlines the ways in which a supporting character can become a main character like him. The idea was originally from his”evil ex-girlfriend,” Blondie DeMeani. The story follows the two characters in the process of Broody writing his book. I think that’s all I can really say about the synopsis, it’s one of those ones you don’t really need to know much more than the basics about to enjoy.

After reading a few chapters, it was immediately clear to me that while the concept of the writing guide was really I interesting and unique, it didn’t catch my interest quite as much as the actual story did. I found myself waiting for the characters and story to come back. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the writing guide portion was hilarious and really relevant to many of the tropes we often see in YA fiction, but I found that I could only take small portions of it at a time.

The writing guide is outlined by Broody and told in a very sarcastic voice. If you know me personally, you’ll know I’m usually a very sarcastic person. However, I think there were times when things got too sarcastic. There was a lot of discussion about female characters - usually in terms of love interests (or ex-love interests) for Broody. He begins to recognize the problematic nature of the portrayals but he’ll say something in a sarcastic way to prove his point. If you aren’t able to recognize the sarcasm in the book, Broody’s guide paints a very different picture, which, I think is ultimately why DiRisio chose to write it in an overly sarcastic voice. Without this very obvious sarcasm, the book can come across in, quite literally, the opposite way it is meant to.

As an avid reader of YA, I loved many of the little quips against the genre. Many of the issues that are talked about by readers are addressed in the writing guide. For instance, the issues of diversity in race, sexuality, and gender were addressed. I was quite pleased to see that even a character seemingly as dense as Broody was able to recognize these were issues. Especially when he was discussing love interests, he was very diligent to express that he was using a heterosexual example because it was what he was usually portrayed as, but that pronouns are to be substituted as needed.

In some of the more controversial topics, Blondie sneaks herself into the book to give a different perspective. She’ll add details about how storylines don’t need a romance, especially if it’s only going to add to the page count and act as a plot point. She also talks about some realistic alternatives to Broody suggestions, when they’re (sarcastically) suggested as the “best” ways to get through an issue. She includes some sneakily feminist elements throughout the story as well, which are always appreciated.

Overall, I think this book raises a lot of good points and draws attention to many of the issues we have in YA fiction that definitely need to be addressed. I think the overt sarcasm took away a little bit of the enjoyment for me, but I still thought it was a worthwhile read.