After his burnout mom fails in her suicide attempt, 14-year-old drug addict Jaime is sent to live with his estranged father, a superrich hotshot art dealer.
The book is filled to the brim with angst, profanity and drug use in what feels more like a celebration of bourgeois ennui than a proper examination. An Internet phenom who’s released an album online and posts videos of himself reading his poetry and short stories, Jaime is impossibly talented, attractive, intelligent and sexually charged. Every woman Jaime finds himself attracted to (including adults) offers herself to Jaime in increasingly gratuitous ways. It is hard to see Jaime as anything but a monstrous, spoiled brat, unable to see past his own pain and libido and incapable of complex thought or, apparently, character growth. At over 500 pages, the novel is an exhausting read. There are long passages in which nothing of consequence to character or plot takes place, just lots of navel-gazing. The characters discuss music with no sharp insight, making the endeavor feel like a laundry list of bands that the author really wants readers to know about (he goes so far as to include a playlist at the end of the book). The characters are flat, the romance undercooked, and the only individual of true interest is an author who awkwardly defends criticisms of his books—ones that mirror those made against Myers’ own previous works.
Repellent. (Fiction. 16 & up)