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.


Khyrinthia said...

I don't like the title of this book. It makes me think it's about a pregnant girl who doesn't know who her baby's dad is. But that may be just me who thinks that.

Great review, by the way.

Gabbi said...

Never thought of that but good point!

Lynda Sandoval said...

I wanted to thank you for reviewing my book, even though you despised it. :-) Everyone needs at least one single-star review as a point/counterpoint. Keeps an author honest. Of course, I'm aware that high school isn't all about getting the guy. That was simply this book. The title, itself, was a play on words--no problem that people didn't like it. I understand the double entendre might be confusing, in fact, I intended it. But not about the pregnant girl aspect (LOL).

Anyway, this was pure commercial fiction, not literary fiction. It's difficult to please everyone when writing a book. We do our best each time, pour our heart and soul into it, as a matter of fact, but c'est la vie. It's important, as an author, to please yourself first when writing.

Again, thank you, and I mean that sincerely. I appreciate your opinion.

Lynda Sandoval

Lenore said...

I love your review and Lynda's comment. A definite blog highlight for me too (I read your post over on YA book bloggers).