Heads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother’s best friend really be?
Tails: The theater geek…with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart’s interests – even if he wants to share all his feelings?
Heart’s simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all…
First Sentence: Before she left, my mom gave me three things: (I) her wedding ring, (2) a closet full of kick-ass vintage clothing, and (3) the worst name in the world.
I’ve heard nothing but great things about Ask Again Later as soon as it was released on shelves. It was compared to Pivot Point (probably because of their similar parallel universes theme), which I did enjoy reading but didn’t love. That being said, I did kind of have high expectations for Ask Again Later since everybody who have read it really enjoyed it. In the end, I feel really disappointed and let down by this book. Frankly, I just don’t get why everybody else loved this one – am I missing something obvious? Baaaa, black sheep.
I usually love reading books focused on parallel universes. I love seeing all the parallels that can happen in different realities and get all giggly when I read about them. However, one of the top problems I had with Ask Again Later was the events that had happened in different prom dates were so hard to keep track of. Sure, I’ll remember what happened, but I don’t know when it happened – did it happen during the Troy prom date or the Ryan prom date? I have to spend at least two minutes thinking about it to get an answer from my brain and that it not good. It was just so hard keeping track of who did what in what prom version Heart picked.
“No! Just an…eye thing.”
“No! Not an eye thing!” He gasped, covering his heart with one hand. “I hope you used protection.” (158)
One of my bookish pet peeves is very clueless slow characters, which leads me to my next problem. The main character of Ask Again Later, Heart, was really clueless when it comes to her love life, which is also pretty much the main focus of the book as you can tell from the summary. Get this: I knew who Heart’s love interest would be eight pages into the book and Heart still has absolutely no clue about it at the halfway point. The worse part is, nearly every one of her friends made the fact extremely obvious to her and hell, even her love interest pretty much made it really obvious to her, but clueless Heart was clueless. If I was still in sixth grade, I would point at her and the guy who likes her, stomp my feet, and be all like OPEN YOUR EYES ALREADY and proceed to make them kiss.
Another issue I had with Ask Again Later was that I thought that the writing was pretty weak. Right from the first five pages or so, I knew that Liz Czukas’ writing was sadly not going to be my thing – it didn’t engage me into the story and I was very easily distracted while reading it. I just think Liz Czukas’ writing is a little too simple for my taste.
“This severely complicates things.”
“Why? You don’t like him?”
“I don’t date.” (245)
Ask Again Later was also filled with stereotypes, basically revolving around jocks and people who are gay. When Heart was with Troy and his jock friends, they all do NOTHING but act with high maintenance, get drunk/drink 24/7, party, get into drinking contests, be crowned Prom Queen/King/whatever, make out (it’s implied that things get pretty hot and heavy), etc., you know, all the typical jock stereotypes? The thing is, not ALL jocks like to get drunk, party, have sex, etc. but in my opinion, Ask Again Later pretty much implies that since none of the jocks in the book did anything besides those stereotypical jock traits. Also, Heart goes on and on about gay people stereotypes to this guy who is gay. The guy also has to constantly correct her and tells her that she is wrong – not all gay people are like that (obviously). What Heart does pretty much baffles me, especially since this happened more than once.
There was also this one part of the book that made me feel ultra uncomfortable and so ANGRY. It deals with sexual assault and how it was handled in the book. You have been warned.
[MILD] SPOILER: Heart was forcibly kissed by Troy, who also adds some tongue action, when she doesn’t want to be kissed by him. Heart is understandably disgusted by this incident and since Troy is her brother Phil’s friend, Heart complains to Phil about it. Phil responds with “That’s awesome!”…”it means he’s getting over Amy.” When Heart insists that she wants to go home, which again, is understandable, Phil tells her that “you are completely overreacting. It was just a kiss,” and “don’t be such a baby,” and “stop freaking out. You’re going to ruin prom,” and “Heart. It was a kiss. Deal.” The last straw was when he told Heart, “[Troy] wouldn’t hurt anyone. He probably thought you wanted it” (143). EXCUSE ME?! Since when is telling someone multiple times that NO, you don’t want them to be anytime more than FRIENDS imply that “he probably thought you wanted it?” And since when is “he probably thought you wanted it” a valid excuse for doing that?! The worse part is, when Phil’s girlfriend Tara later forces Phil to apologize to Heart with a sorry he so obviously didn’t want to say, all is apparently forgiven. No, just NO. If Phil was my brother, he will have to BEG me for YEARS for me to forgive him, after I destroy his life.
Other things that I want to mention, but since this review is long enough, I’ll shorten this mini-list: There were also tiny things that just didn’t make sense in Ask Again Later, other tiny things that struck the wrong note with me, and I just didn’t get Ask Again Later‘s humor (basically, it failed to make me laugh or even smile). If you want to know about these more in detail, just ask me more about it in the comments.
Overall, even though I know that Ask Again Later is meant to be a light, funny, fluffy book, there were just too many things in the book that just didn’t rub me in the right way. In the end, Ask Again Later and I just didn’t click. As of now, I can’t decide whether or not I’ll read Liz Czukas’ Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless.