Review: My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul

My Kind of Crazy
by Robin Reul

Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

(cover image and summary lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date:  April 5, 2016
Source/Format: e-ARC via Netgalley
Purchase links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | IndieBound | Book Depository
My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts:
Whether we admit it or not, we have this guilty pleasure of falling for brooding YA heroes. We tend to get lured in the mysteries and darkness of their backstories. We like to sink in the sadness of their thoughts and reflections. But conventional brooding YA heroes get a tad too heavy and tiring sometimes that a little twist in this character type is a welcome surprise. So, if you didn’t think that a brooding YA hero could also be hilariously funny, better get and read My Kind of Crazy.

We cannot help but feel sorry for seventeen-year old Hank. He is poor. He lost his mother and brother in an accident. And his alcoholic father never lets him forget that accident by making him feel irrelevant as compared with his dead golden boy brother. But we also cannot help but laugh at his other clumsy unfortunate circumstances like, accidentally setting fire on the garden of Amanda, a girl he is promposing to and getting entangled with Peyton, a girl who has an absurd affinity to all things burning.

The strongest suit of this book for me is Hank’s characterization and development. He is complex in such a way that he has his dark and serious side as well as light and funny moments. There are instances where he strayed me with his sad thoughts about his bleak future, about how it’s a pain the the ass if you care too much, and about how he feels alone and unloved. And then there are those times when he had me in stitches with his funny side: like when he was filling up survey questions with comical answers and this running gag on his mind that his bestfriend Nick’s dad might be an actual mafia boss and he automatically stiffs and prepares himself to see a body bound and gagged whenever he comes over their house. Hank’s transformation into a true blue hero is all around brilliant. I loved how his change came around from someone who runs away from a promposal botched by fire to someone who will dive into fire just to save someone he cares for. While reading, I feel like this boy is real and I wanna hug him and cheer him on and be friends with him.

An added thing that endears me to My Kind of Crazy are characters described with plain looks. I am just a bit of fed up with characters who have insanely, out of this world good looks and this book provided me with a breather. Falling in love and seeing beauty feels more genuine to me when characters see past through each other’s physical attributes. Another thing worth mentioning is the little love quadrangle with the characters. I will not expound more so as not to reveal too much but let’s just say that it’s cute, slightly unexpected and not trying hard.

I also like how the conflict about problematic parents are not just mentioned to give character depth then casually swept under the rug after. Some books are sloppy with addressing problematic parents and mostly uses it as an excuse to let the teen main characters roam around freely and do whatever they want. Nothing about that in this book, which is great. The issues are addressed and the book made the main characters confront their issues with their parents.

There was a point when I felt apprehensive that the book will let some of the characters’ madly unwise actions slide without consequences but luckily, it was not the case here. It just took a long while to get there but the book did get there, eventually. All in all, My Kind of Crazy is worth reading because of it’s bold spin on the traditional brooding YA hero. It showed us that dark and serious people can have jokes and can be also entertaining. And ultimately, it showed us that truly caring for important people in our lives means trying to stick around with them despite their brand of crazy.
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