[eARC Review] Don't Call Me Baby

Friday, April 25, 2014

Title: Don't Call Me Baby
Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Release Date: April 22nd
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: eARC received from publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

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All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog.

Imogene's mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene's crush saw her "before and after" orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.

When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online...until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she's been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.

Don't Call Me Baby is a sharply observed and irrepressibly charming story about mothers and daughters, best friends and first crushes, and the surface-level identities we show the world online and the truth you can see only in real life.

I will be honest right now and say that I did not read the synopsis before I read this book. I judged it solely on ts cover and after finishing the book I really wish I had read the synopsis because I probably would not have picked up the book. I went into this book thinking I was going to get a feel good contemporary YA novel about a young girl in high school. Little did I know the main character was 15, and a VERY young 15 at that.

What I found compelling about this book was the fact that Imogene our main character and narrator is the daughter of a well known mommy blogger. I found this part of the book fascinating because being a blogger I understand the mothers point of view and the fact that her blog is a business that needs to keep readers. Yet I also saw her daughters side, with her being sick and tired of her whole life being documented for others to read when she only wants some privacy. This is something that is very prevalent to a lot of people and something that could be a problem for some people in the future. But I did not like how this story was handled at all. 

The writing itself was very young to be considered YA, and considering the cover I was expecting an older grade of YA than I got. I mean there are only so many times I can read the words "OH EM GEE" in a book before I start to loath every sentence. I felt like Imogen's entire character was one dimensional. she wanted to have to privacy yet she created her own blog in order to showcase how horrible her life is? I never got that aspect, and honestly I got really annoyed when the romance got pt in because the minute the boy was reading her mothers blog and liking it Imogen faded away a little bit and suddenly didn't mind the attention so much. That part really annoyed me. 

I hated her mother from the very beginning because I never believed that her blog, from what we read in the book itself, deserved that many followers and that much attention in the first place, but also she was so self centered and was more focused on her blog than her family and what was going on inside the real world away from her computer. The mother character seemed like a caricature of what a over the top mother would be, and I never thought of her as a real mother, she was more of a mother figure that was present at certain times in the book. 

I think the end bothered me the most because throughout the entire book we hear Imogen complain non stop about her mother and how she never gives her privacy. But she never really TALKS to her mother about it because she scared (of course). So instead Imogen decides to create this plan to expose her mothers thoughtlessness at a blogger convention, but ultimately backs out and decides that talking to her is the best way. WTF! I was waiting for this bog confrontation and all I got was a semi heart-to-heart talk at the very end? I was very disappointed in that. I wanted so much more character growth than I received and honestly I wanted the characters to be more 2 dimensional. This book really was not for me.

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