This funny, smart novel follows the friendship of three 16 year old girls as they experience some of the typical pitfalls of adolescence: boys, queen-bee types, a flirty teacher, beer, crazy parents, and more. Lauren Myracle has a gift for dialogue and characterization, and the girls emerge as three distinctive and likable personalities through their Internet correspondence. This light, fast-paced read is told Entirely in instant message format, the first book ever for young adults to be written so. (from Amazon)
I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that for much of my life I was a Book Snob. I’d see a book like this one, with its bright pink cover, written in IM format, full of pop culture stuff– and I’d think it wasn’t worth my time. That it was silly, or stupid, or most likely both. I’d write it off as a “no way am I reading that” kind of book and that’d be a big mistake. Because ttyl? Isn’t stupid or silly or a book you should ignore. Maybe the cover is a bit over-the-top and maybe some of the pop culture stuff is dated now, but actually it’s a great book in a really clever format.
ttyl is about three girls: Zoe, Maddie, and Angela. They’ve recently started 10th grade and have to deal with all sorts of new things. Things like boyfriends, former enemies turnings into (supposedly) new friends, a pervert teacher flirting with his students, and more.
I’ll admit that I didn’t like it as much as I liked Bliss, but that doesn’t mean that ttyl is necessarily subpar. They’re two different genres, and one’s more experimental than the other, and so on and so on. ttyl is, I think, more in tune with teenage life today (although the things in Bliss are actually pretty timeless), especially with the whole “written in IMs” thing. It talks about the damage rumors can do to a person, and friendships gone sour, and teenage rebellion. It talks about sex, and love, and the difference between obsession and passion. And, as a bonus, it’s also funny and enthralling!
Because it’s in chat format, it took me a while to get used to reading it. The occasional chatspeak didn’t help, although there’s less of that than you’d think (there’s also no misspellings, bad grammar, etc. like you’d find in real online chatter). Also one of the fonts is Comic Sans, which…yeah, kind of gave me a headache after a while! Still, it’s surprisingly easy to adapt to a non-prose format, and I actually really liked it by the time I finished reading.
If you’ve been putting off reading ttyl because you’re worried about the formatting, or the subject matter, or the cover: stop it. If you like contemporary YA and books that deal with Real Life things in a smart way, you’ll like ttyl. The sex stuff is frank but not raunchy, and it’s not anything teens don’t talk about anyway. All in all, ttyl is excellently written, with a great story and likable, if somewhat trope-y, characters.
Read: January 25-26, 2012