I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on December 23rd, 2014
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Source: Book Expo America
A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.
Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.
Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?
The results of Josh's semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided "grand gesture" at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love--or at least a girlfriend--in all the wrong places.
Since I’ve been a huge fan of Josh Sundquist on YouTube for quite a while, when I found out that copies of We Should Hang Out Sometime would be at BEA, I was SUPER FREAKING EXCITED. Like none of my blogger friends knew who he was, but I couldn’t help but shout that I NEEDED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE. And I was right – this book was freaking delightful and just as clever and amusing as his videos. I absolutely love his voice, his method of storytelling, and that translated to print perfectly – so I’ll let him tell you about this book first.
So yes, technically this is a memoir, as Josh details his true story of how he went through 25 years of life without a girlfriend. BUT. It definitely doesn’t read like a memoir, nor do you need to know anything about Josh to just jump into this book and be amused. Seriously, it’s hilarious. He has this really refreshing and authentic voice as he details his thought process about all of his dating disasters. He’s super nerdy in an adorable way, and the book is loaded with hand-drawn charts and graphs (which viewers of his YouTube videos would recognize as classically Josh) and amusing footnotes. But again, it reads like an authentic YA contemporary romance novel – so if non-fiction isn’t your jam, DON’T WRITE THIS OFF.
There are so many things that I love about this book, but one big thing has to be the way Josh talks about his disability. Josh is an amputee, due to his battle with cancer as a child, but it doesn’t define his life and little of the book is about that. In fact, the first time he mentions it, it’s in passing, like, “By the way, I only have five things that most people have 10 of.” But it does come up, because, hey, it’s inevitable, and I loved the insight that it brought. He is hyperaware of people judging him or feeling sorry for him and does everything he can to just be a regular member of the crowd – to not be a burden. He lives a full life in spite of his disability, and that is super admirable – and I fully understand why he made it as a motivational speaker. He doesn’t get preachy, but the way he sees the world is really inspiring.
And then there’s his in-depth analysis into his romantic history. It covers everything from awkward middle school dating to awkward high school dating to awkward college dating. Each girl has her own section in the story, with a “Background”, “Hypothesis”, and “Investigation” – which takes place years later, as Josh meets up with the girls again to see what went wrong. At times, he may seem a bit romantically obsessed, and certainly, he gets attracted to these girls rather quickly and doesn’t let go easily, but it did seem genuine. Through his voice and his history, you can clearly understand why he felt he needed to have a girlfriend – especially that first official girlfriend, which is somewhat of a rite of passage. Josh is actually a golden boy – and his story is a typical case of nice guys finish last. But he sees his own faults too. He’s nervous and doesn’t want to rush things or put pressure on the girls, so he misses a lot of opportunities. It’s a story of character growth, because he learns this about himself and gets more confident along the way.
I was fully entertained and drawn into the story, giggling all over the place, and before I knew it it was over! It is a super quick read, but I wish the ending had been a bit longer. There is a conclusion Josh comes to about why all his attempts at romance had gone south, but I didn’t feel like enough emphasis was placed on that – either in the individual stories with telltale signs to hit the message home, or in the end with a longer explanation of how this had been affecting him all along. It’s not really confusing, and certainly you can dissect it on your own, but it could have been more powerful in the narrative itself. I also wish we could have seen more of the happy ending. It felt a bit rushed, because I definitely would have liked to see how in that relationship he overcame all his insecurities, had his DTR talk, and finally found love. I mean, I know they’re good (they just got engaged!!! ♥), but I wanted MORE.