Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player – Antony John

Synopsis

I feel like I’m about to pass out, but that won’t do much for my new reputation as a non-dork, so I bury my head in the Book instead. There’s not much there, really–just the senior portrait of every girl in my class, and below each photo, space for me to record her measurements–once I get her measurements, that is.

From his flute-playing prowess to his nerdy reputation, Kevin Mopsely epitomizes uncool. When popular jock Brandon Trent appoints Kevin to compile the Book of Busts–a record of the bust, waist, and hip measurements of every senior girl–Kevin fears he’s out of his league. The Book, however, is the key to his popularity, so Kevin accepts the challenge–uncovering much more than he bargained for in the process.

Busted is a hilarious and provocative debut that tackles the intricate issues of first love, testosterone-laden peer pressure, feminism, and “GRRL power” with a fresh and unique voice that will appeal to both male and female teenage readers.

Review

If you only read the first half of this, you’ll think it’s a terrible misogynistic book. But then you realize that things like The Red Pill exist in the world, meaning that some people actually act this way (which is pretty saddening, quite honestly).

Kevin is innocent, inexperienced, and desperate. He also has a really skewed idea of popularity. Some parts were pretty funny (like the ending scene!). Others were way too melodramatic and angsty. I really liked the premise of the book, but it wasn’t carried out very successfully.

The thing is, I can’t tell if this book was meant to be satirical or not. I’m not sure how seriously it took itself. Because if this was all an intentionally overdrawn farce, it was perfect. If not, it tried critiquing gender roles, sexism, sexuality, and feminism with a really distorted perspective that only propagates sexist behaviour. I think a lot of it was meant to be exaggerated, but some of the underlying assumptions about society detracted from the story. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that so many more men are male-elitist and self-righteous. There’s the other side of the coin too (kind of depicted in Paige, but definitely not to the same extent as the Brandons, Jeffries, Zachs, and even parents). You can’t say “boys will be boys,” because that’s what prevents different behaviour. It’s a disservice to men to say that Kevin should be held outside the norm as someone “different from the rest.” Even Kalowski’s behaviour treats the young men as lost causes. And if no one is there to wake them up, these issues will only continue to fester. Putting them aside or punishing them does not change anything.

Also, there were some seriously bad parents here. Some scenes physically and mentally repulsed me, but I think (or at least, I hope) that was the point.
Rah rah, GRRLS…?! Maybe…?!

Related Reading

  • The Spectacular Now – Tim Tharp
  • Winger – Andrew Smith
  • Shredded – Karen Avivi
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

Rating: 2/5

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