Published by HarperCollins on May 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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Tim is repeating the HSC, but he's more into music than studying. He is juggling playing in a band with handing in assignments and the music is winning. Mandy is taking a year off before she starts uni. Her problem is she doesn't really know what she wants to study, so she's working (sort of) and even by her own admission spends too much watching daytime TV and drinking tea with best friend Alice, with the tea being an excuse for talking - lots. Tim and Mandy meet at a gig. The attraction is immediate, but they are both so shy and self-conscious, but over time they slowly, awkwardly, move toward each, meeting by coincidence, each unsure as to how the other feels.
Kristy’s first review on Happy Indulgence!
Thanks to the tribulations brought on by the busy schedule that is real-life, the worst of the worst has happened recently, and I’ve found myself in a bit of a reading slump.
Now, there’s two paths I usually look to in order to combat this. The first is to conduct a séance and hope to hell that whatever spirit I conjure can help me out, and the second is to pick up a contemporary novel which is my go-to genre when reading.
For practical reasons, I tend to go with the latter option.
In theory, You’re The Kind of Girl I Write Songs About would be the perfect antidote to my problem. The title alone practically oozes the romance à la Melina Marchetta and Gayle Forman that always snaps me out of a reading slump, and with stellar endorsements by Cath Crowley and Nick Earls, how could it go wrong?
Quite a bit, it turns out.
For one, I felt no connection with the main characters. To me, Mandy and Tim were paper cut-outs of characters you find skimming a bio on Wikipedia. Harsh, but true. I get that Mandy was the girl fresh out of high school trying to ‘find her place in the world’, while Tim was the muso playing gigs in all the bars of the Inner West while hiding a Dark and Possibly Terrible Past, but where was the personality? I like my angst, but I have to like the actual characters before I actually enjoy it. The relationship between Mandy and Tim was too rushed, too insa-love and let-me-take-you-now-despite-not-knowing-your-first-name. It was mind boggling having these two characters like each other before I could figure out if I even liked either of them at all.
We talk for a few minutes and it’s not enough. A moment later, I can’t really remember anything he said.
One conversation at a pub where you can’t even remember what the other person just said does not make true love, let me tell you that.
Despite the alternating POVs, all I really got from them was their common interest in music—which would’ve been fine I suppose, if it weren’t for the fact that it felt like Herborn was name dropping every indie band and singer in existence. When music is a theme in a novel, it should generate a better understanding of a character, not become a character in itself. The chapters were too short, the writing too stagnant, and the frequent location jumps into different areas of the Inner West just weren’t to my liking. I would’ve preferred it if Herborn just stuck to two or three areas of the Inner West, rather than trying to give readers an entire tour of what it’s like to be a hipster kid in Sydney.
The great unveiling of Tim’s big secret wasn’t that shocking since I’d figured it’d be something along those lines, but Mandy’s reaction to it was what irked me above all.
I wish we could be one of those lucky, happy couples that I see around, girls from my school who weren’t any more clever, or giving, or pretty, or interesting than me or anyone else, but who met their perfect boyfriends and disappeared into some bubble of happiness that floats around the city and bounces past the likes of me.
Oh yes, Mandy. Forget about Tim spilling his past to you, let’s focus on how you guys aren’t Facebook relationship status worthy instead. That’s definitely the way to a healthy relationship, no doubt about it.
I finished this book through sheer force of will more than anything else but quite frankly, this just wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s a shame, really, since You’re The The Kind of Girl I Write Songs About had so much potential, but its execution just wasn’t enough to do it.
Rating: 2 out of 5