Of All the Stupid Things: 12/22/12
Though presented as a teen LGBT romance, Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz is a story of the long term friendship of three girls, nearly torn apart by rumor and the entry of a new girl into the mix. The three friends are Tara — the popular girl and health nut, Whitney Blaire — the wealthy snob, and Pinkie — the girl who keeps everyone together.
The book opens with the same shocker as Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones — Tara's popular, jock boyfriend is said to have been seen making out in his car with another boy. Whether or not the rumor is true is inconsequential to the book — it's all about the reaction to the rumor.
In Jones's book, her boyfriend really does come out of the closet and the remainder of the book is her very personal coming to terms with his outing. In Of All the Stupid Things, the arrival of Riley (the new girl) in the middle of the drama, stirs up feelings in Tara that she's never had before. In this regards, the book reads like Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters (link to review) with the negative reaction being more from Tara's friends than from her family.
The thing, though, that prevented the book from working for me was the reliance on three points of view. Each of the three main characters — the original friends — gets her own chapters. The points of view cycle through from Tara to her friends and back. These alternating chapters hinder the development of any one protagonist as a fully realized character and doesn't give enough time for Tara and Riley's relationship to grow.
After all the drama circling around the rumor and Tara realizing she has feelings for Riley, the book's conclusion focuses on a completely insignificant plot thread. Having read the book cover to cover I hoped all the threads would come together in some sort of satisfying conclusion. But it doesn't. It just sort of stops with Tara reaching one of her goals.