Release Date: March 15, 2015
Source: Copy provided for honest review
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet with a voice reminiscent of the rawness of 1970s punk, this knockout coming-of-age story is told by its charming protagonist Will Flicker
Set in one town in the northeast of England, this is the story of a brilliant, unforgettable moment in the life of two teenagers: a sweet taste of young life, a love letter to hope. Marooned by a lack of education and a lack of generally anything else better to do, Will, a.k.a. "Flick," muses on the artistry behind being a stoner, whether Pepsi is better than Coke, and why the new girl in town is just so much hotter than all the familiar slutty girls—or "slappers and professional-abortionists"—he counts among his friends. As his relationship with Rainbow, the new girl in town, develops, Flick finds himself torn between the constraints and loyalty he feels to his old life and the pull of freedom that Rainbow represents.
Okay...where to start.
First, the synopsis claims "A modern-day Romeo and Juliet with a voice reminiscent of the rawness of 1970s punk" - and I was really excited to start this book after reading that little tidbit! Unfortunately, this is not the feel I got from Flick. At all. Ever. At any point. Nope.
Second, the synopsis also claims "lack of education". Uh..no. Again, just nope. He goes to class, he gets good grades, he goes on these ridiculous tangents that are absolutely, totally, 100% meaningless but fucking well thought out none the less. He's not a dumb kid, he's not uneducated.
Flick is really just an uncaring dickhead. He uses the excuse of living in a dead-end town, to be a wasted youth. Which is a pivotal part in the story and there is a real lesson that can be learned from that. Though, I don't think it's delivered even remotely as powerful as it could have been.
A new girl, Rainbow, moves to town and Flick finally finds some meaning in his life. He falls in love but she's not willing to aid his life as a stoner. At this point, several options could happen.
Some that could deliver strong endings. Some that will fall flat. Which is exactly what happened, for me, with Flick.
The ending was so anti-climatic. Furthermore, the entire story was. There is no excitement, there isn't any moment where you feel like shit is about to hit the fan, the story follows a shallow and expected arc.
Also, I found myself skimming so much of it. There were pages and pages of randomness where I just kept asking myself - why is this part of the story? It didn't give me anything in character development, it didn't really further the story, it was fluff. I think those pages would have been better spent on developing a relationship between Flick and Rainbow. There was so little there, I could not for the life of me figure out what the hell they saw in each other. They go from a two sentence conversation and the next thing you know they are having sex.
Which leads me to another thing... This book is based in the U.K. and I know they have vastly different legal age determinations there than they do in the U.S. I felt like I had been pushed into the deep end of teen sex and debauchery. Flick is fifteen, yet talks like a cocky perverted adult. This was not a Young Adult book in my opinion. It's very mature in language and content. Which is completely fine, but it still left me disconnected. This is not how I seen teens. Yes, I see them do drugs and have sex...I'm not naive to that but this was just much more over the top.
While I absolutely respect the idea of the message in Flick and I really did enjoy the style in which Tarttelin writes, this just was not a strong enough story for me. I'm not so turned off that I won't look at other titles from her, but Flick won't be hitting my favorites bookshelf either.