Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Review: 4 to 16 Characters

Title 4 to 16 Characters

Author Kelly Hourihan

Release Date November 13, 2013

Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all. Jane’s life has collapsed in the last few years; following the death of her mother, her father turned to drinking, and Jane is reeling from the double blow. To escape, Jane devises a number of online personas, each with a distinct personality, life history, and set of friends. But things become trickier when she finds herself drawing close to some of her online friends, and winds up struggling with the question of how to maintain a real friendship while masquerading as a fake person. With the help of Gary, a socially awkward classmate and competitive Skeeball player who is Jane’s only offline friend, and Nora, her therapist, Jane begins to sift through her issues. The only catch is that that involves taking a long, hard look at what her life’s like when the computer is shut off, and that’s a reality she’s been fighting for years.

I have very mixed feelings about 4 to 16 Characters. I guess, for simplicities' sake, I will break it down.

The Good: The blurb made the book sound awesome. And relatable. As someone that spent an obscene amount of time on the internet (and still does, let's be honest), I was interested in reading about Jane. The format of the book was pretty awesome. We get Jane's point of view through the internet (blog posts, emails, etc.).

The Not-So-Good: Holy fanfic! Jane's story seems to center around fan-fiction for a fandom that doesn't exist. I'll be honest, whenever it came to the fanfic, I skipped it (and I didn't feel bad about it at all). I might have been more inclined to read it if it was based on an actual fandom, but as it was I had no idea what was going on with it and I didn't care. At all. I'm not sure I would have picked up this book if I had known it centered around fan-fiction. It's not something I'm into (I admit I don't really understand the appeal) and reading an entire book about it seems rather boring.

Overall, the book was okay. It's much too niche for me to recommend to anyone, though. Kind of a letdown.


2 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

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