Monday, September 22, 2008
Who's Your Daddy? by: Lynda Sandoval
Okay. I know I usually start off with how many stars I'd give a book, but I'll save that for the very end.
There isn't much good to say about Sandoval's debut novel, but I'll try not to make this review incredibly catty. Who's Your Daddy? is actually the unofficial name of a clique of three high school-age girls: Lila, Meryl and Caressa. All of them have "unique" fathers. Meryl's is the vice-principal. Lila's is a police officer. Caressa's is an old jazz star.
The concept of the book is that none of them can find a date. Well. I'm immediately put off by this premise. High school is not all about boys. YA books generally press the "boyfriend and best friend is all you need" dynamic, but WYD pushes it to the extreme. For girls who are continually described as bright, happy and pretty, they all seem so depressed that they've been dubbed untouchable.
Moreover, this novel is told in alternating first-person POVs of the three girls. They are all exactly alike. It's impossible to tell apart, except for the helpful headers (i.e. Chapter Four, Meryl) at the beginning of each new chapter.
I, personally, thought the voices were completely unoriginal, contrived and un-teenager-ish. They use phrases like "triple whammy," a lot. Also, Lynda Sandoval has some bizarre obsession with CAPTIALIZING WORDS LIKE THIS. IN EVERY CHAPTER. IN EVERY GIRL’S POV.
One thing I really had a problem with (out of a long, long list) is the way these girls talk over Instant Messaging. There is no distinction between girls. All my friends IM differently. Some use all lowercase letters, some constant text talk. None of them type like this:
“My freakin’ dad told me I couldn’t come to your house on homecoming night, Caressa, that’s why.”
Lovely grammar. Really. Realistic...?
I understand that writing your first novel is no small peanuts. I don’t think I could ever write a novel. It’s a difficult task and I have the utmost respect for people who complete this. However, I think that Who’s Your Daddy? could use a plot vamp-up and some characterization before I’d ever re-read it. For example, Lila’s mother died when she was a little girl. The best part in this entire book comes early on when Lila reminisces about her mom. It was bittersweet and kind of wonderful really. If only the rest of the novel was, as well.
Total: One star.