I saw Paisley Hanover Acts Out in the bookstore at Christmas time and I confess I completely dismissed it. I didn’t even really look at it, just long enough to see that it came in what I deemed to be a gimmicky sort of package with some kind of journal inside:
My thoughts ran something along these lines, “Oh here’s a story that couldn’t stand on it’s own two feet so it’s been jazzed up with snazzy extras in order to get readers’ attention. Pshaw!” Well, I am not one who is afraid to admit to a mistake. I was wrong about Paisley. So very wrong. I am now a Paisley Hanover groupie. And author Cameron Tuttle? I am watching your every move (in a non-stalker-ish way, never fear).
Paisley Hanover begins her sophomore year with the idea that it will be perfect. She has been accepted into yearbook, and she’s ready to meet all of the cool and super smart kids in the class. But then, tragedy strikes. She gets booted out of yearbook and into drama, the place where the geekiest geeks congregate. This is just the beginning of everything not turning out according to Paisley’s perfect plan. The friends she thought were her friends forever, are not the people she thought she knew. The drama geeks? At least a few of them seem to have shades of cool and might be friendship material. Suddenly Paisley isn’t sure about the social order that she’s been buying into for so long. The “pops” (A-listers) and the “un-pops” (everyone else) seem to be a lot less defined than they once were. Paisley discovers that deep within her formerly popular self beats the heart of an indie-girl, with an unpop spirit. This leads Paisley to unexpected, radical action. Will she become the heroine of the un-pops? Will she change the definition of popularity forever? She has no idea, but that’s not stopping her.
I love a book that is funny but also makes you think. Laugh-out-loud but sneakily thought-provoking. At first glance, I think a lot of people (myself included) might imagine that this book is just fluff, but it’s not. It’s clever. Paisley is an awesome, unconventional, thinking girl who discovers what is possible when you’re open to new experiences and when you question what nobody else has the guts to fight. There is a convincing and consistent quirkiness to this book, and the secondary characters really stand out. There’s wisdom too, but communicated with lightness.
This book is brilliant in audio format. It’s hilarious, with speedy chapters, and I think that listening really makes you appreciate the consistency and cleverness of the voice. After just a few minutes, I was thinking it is a lot like Glee, in book form. Weird kids, popular kids, wacky teachers, laughs and lots of drama.
I can’t wait to see what happens to Paisley next. Good thing Book 2, Paisley Hanover Kisses & Tells, is slated for July.
Paisley Hanover Acts Out is published by Dial books.