Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale

Published: 25 August 2020

Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction, Comedy, Quick Transmigration*, Graphic Novel, Supernatural

* Quick transmigration is a genre where the protagonist travels into the body of a person or character and have to live their life for a period of time. Usually, books of this genre are like one book with multiple stories, called arcs, within.

Book Trailer

Available as: Audiobook, Hardcover

Summary:

Kind of a Big Deal represents high school students in their final two years who do not know where they are going in their life. The main character, Josie Pie, has dropped out of high school to chase what she thinks are her dreams of Broadway. When she arrives in New York, nothing goes as she imagines and she has a hard time recovering, settling for a role as a live-in nanny for a five year old named Mia. She follows the family from New York to Minnesota instead of returning home to her family, best friend, and boyfriend in Arizona. Both Josie and Mia struggle to adapt to their relocation. To avoid thinking about her boyfriend’s possible cheating and her lack of acting opportunities, Josie stumbles upon a bookstore and begins to fill her time with reading. Free glasses from the bookstore force Josie to make a decision between fantasy and reality.

Review

“I don’t care what I’ll find, what year it is, what I’ve lost. I don’t want the fantasy. I’m ready to claim my life, whatever it is.” – Josie

This quote is from the climax of the story; it represents the angst and fear of losing time that people, especially teenagers, can experience as they reach transition periods in their life. I would recommend this book to readers that have dreamed of living in their favourite novels, enjoy fanfiction, or young readers experiencing a transition in their life. Within the book, the experience of being pulled into a book is called realistic transubstantiation. This is similar to 快穿 (kuài chuān) or quick transmigration* in Chinese novels. I believe that is what was attempted with this novel. On one hand, I did not like how this style was written because the character that transmigrates will usually try to adapt to figure out what is going on. Instead of following the plotline, Josie breaks the original story. While I did not enjoy how she takes control and changes the story in her own way, I think that it represents how externally she thinks that the world should revolve around herself and is not adapting to the changes in her real life. On the other hand, by having this style, the text takes on a Freudian dream aspect where Josie learns from her dreams and realizes that she has to make the changes she wants to see in her life.

Overall Rating: 🌕🌕

2 – Would not read again but I like the idea

Ending: 🌕🌕 – 2/5

Plot: 🌕🌕 🌗- 2.5/5

World-building: 🌕🌕 – 2/5

Characters: 🌕🌕 – 2/5

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