Title: The Movie Version
Author: Emma Wunsch
Publication: October 11th 2016 by Amulet Books
Summary from Goodreads:
In the movie version of Amelia’s life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you’d pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a “beach party” in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She’s Toby Anderson’s Younger Sister. She’s perfectly happy to watch Toby’s hijinks from the sidelines, when she’s not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathons.
But recently Toby’s been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He’s stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn’t know what’s happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that’s taken his place. And there’s someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia—not Toby’s Sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby—and herself—it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady.
The Movie Version is a bit of a unique monster. This monster isn’t the type that hides under your bed or in your closet. It doesn’t sneak around in the shadows or shy away from the sun. The Movie Version viciously generalizes mental illness into nothing more than a plot device.
The novel sounds fun, light-hearted, and sweet with the possibility of becoming something more. Maybe. That is not the case. The Movie Version marginalizes something that is already rarely talked about and utilizes offensive and borderline condescending emotional inputs meant to push the story forward. But really, all it did was piss me off. It isn’t the type of contemporary novel that makes you cry because it’s pulling at your heart strings. No, it makes you cry because you’ve lost all faith in humanity – at least while reading it.
It wasn’t just the fact that it was underdeveloped, offensive, plot device central, The Movie Version was also ridiculously explicit for nothing more than the sake of being explicit. Personally, I have no qualms with cussing and explicit anything – at least when it is used so that it is something other than trying to make a novel sound more teen. I’m sorry, but at that level, it’s really fucking rude. See, I cussed. Because I am angry. Not because I feel like it’s going to make me sound cooler. Additionally, there are very, very explicit sex scenes. Maybe I wouldn’t have a problem with that if it fit the overall tone, like in A Court of Thornes and Roses – the book has such a mature tone and subject matter that the explicit sex didn’t bother me or make me do a double take. Here? I felt as though I needed to rinse the book out with soap and bleach and then do the same thing for my poor, poor eyes. The Movie Version isn’t speaking to a higher level audience, though we obviously will read it too. The overall tone and mood of the book is geared towards high school, at least in my opinion, and this was waaaaayyy too much for that.
The Movie Version is something that is trying too hard to do something it shouldn’t have bothered with in the first place. It was painful to read for a multitude of reasons. It was offensive, rude, crude, and a complete buzz kill. It is not engaging, it is not enlightening, it does not say anything exciting or worth promoting. The best I could say about The Movie Version is that it showcases what not to do on a basic level.