By: Gordon Jack
Published Year: 2018
Publisher: Harper Teen
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Three candidates, three platforms, and a whirlwind of social media, gaffes, and protests makes for a ridiculous and hilarious political circus in Gordon Jack’s second highly satirical novel. Perfect for fans of Andrew Smith and Frank Portman.
They say that with great power comes great responsibility. Unless you’re student body president at Lincoln High School. Then you get all the responsibility but none of the power. And the three candidates running for president know all about that.
Stacey Wynn is the front-runner, but she didn’t count on Julia Romero entering this race. Julia is challenging Stacey for the title while also putting the moves on Stacey’s campaign adviser and only friend, Brian. And then there is Tony Guo, the way outsider. Tony is usually oblivious to the school’s political campaigning, as he’s oblivious to anything that isn’t about getting high and drinking all the Space Cow chocolate milk he can stomach. But when his favorite beverage is banned at school, a freshman political “mastermind” convinces Tony to become the voice of the little guy. But what kind of voice is that, really?
If this were an ordinary high school election, the winner would be whichever candidate was the most popular. But this year, each candidate may have to sink to a new low to win an election that could change the course of...very little.
The cover of this book completely drew me in and I was excited to be offered the opportunity to take part in the tour. In amongst this crazy political climate, I was curious about a young adult novel that dealt with the inner workings of school politics.
What I thought
Stacey is running for school president unopposed, until new girl Julia shows up. Shortly after that, stoner Tony gets thrown into the running. All of a sudden, the simple non-election turns into a race against the Haves and the Have-Nots, the minorities and the majority, men and women, freshmen and seniors. You imagine it, this election pits those groups against one another.
From the election stand point, I found this book to be interesting. I did, however, feel at times that certain race issues and mental health issues were being used to make the story more interesting and that made me a little uncomfortable at times.
Stacey is not a very likable person. She has been class president for the past three years and it is pretty much just a fact that she will be school president her senior year. He best friend, Brian, is and always has been her campaign manager. Unfortunately for her, he ends up with a crush on the Julia Romero, the new student. She has moved from Quebec to California for shady reasons unknown. As a way of gaining some freedom and trust from her Aunt (who she’s living with) she decides to run for class president. Julia isn’t white and quickly gains support from the Latino community when her campaign poster is vandalized with a racist remark.
My issue with the Julia storyline is that she isn’t white, but she isn’t Latina and this becomes the central part of her story. In general, there is a lot going on in this story and I feel like I could spend the majority of my review just explaining all of the people and their stories and how they’re connected to everyone else. In addition to not knowing exactly what her racial background is (her mom used a sperm donor and hasn’t shared any information with Julia), she is dealing with being in a new school, beginning a relationship with her opponents best friend, hiding/running from her past, and keeping secrets. I understand there needed to be a reason for Julia to move to California, but it seemed like such a throwaway plot line that I could’ve done without it.
I also felt like this story ended very quickly. Everything happens all at once, and plotlines that were drawing out over the course of the book are wrapped up in the matter of pages. It started to feel like Jack was under the pressure of a page limit and needed to finish the story before he got there. I think if some of the other storylines had been weeded out, a more fleshed out ending could’ve occurred.
The hosts of this tour have been kind enough to host a giveaway! You could win 2 signed copies of Your Own Worst Enemy, plus some book swag. The giveaway is only open to US residents and closes on 11/27.
Gordon Jack always wanted to be a writer. In third grade, he put that on his “What I want to be when I grow up” list, just behind astronaut and professional dog walker. While working towards this goal, he had jobs as an advertising copywriter, English teacher, librarian, and semi-professional dog walker. The Boomerang Effect was his first novel. He lives in San Francisco with his family.