Book Review: The Great American Whatever

Happy Wednesday, Internet strangers (jk, hi mom!)

Today on R&B, I’m reviewing a book that got me through some really hard times! (Taylor and Calvin’s break up.)

Getting this book was an adventure and a half. Truly. Watch out for my upcoming YA novel: The Time I Nearly Got Run Over By A Teen Boy in A Mini Van While Jogging to the Library. Actually, this may do better as one of those CW miniseries that plays on commercial breaks.

Anyway, the point is, I–a total non-runner–actually ran to the library to get this book before they closed. Why didn’t I just drive to the library you ask? I don’t have a car! Hi, I majored in English. Strange trend in the corporate world: no one cares if you can spell perseverance or name all of Shakespeare’s tragedies.


(Or, you know, major in English and keep persevering–the properly spelled way!)

Sorry for turning this book review into a LiveJournal.

Library bar codes, ruining #bookstagrams since the great ’00 technology takeover

Back to The Great American Whatever: Apologies for the un-creative adjective choice, but this book was great.

SPEEDY SUMMARY ACCORDING TO GOODREADS: Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.
Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

Quick New Critical analysis:
Setting, characters, plot: 100 EMOJI!

The BFF-ship was strong and adorable. (“Quinn, is this about you being gay? I literally don’t care at all.” KEEP BEING A GOOD BFF, GEOFF.) The secrets that emerged were surprising while still being realistic. The love story was first love-ish and so perfectly relatable, unless you’re one of those humans who married their high school sweetheart, in which case, go be married on someone else’s blog because you’re ruining my comparison. Amir and Quinn will cause you to never look at frozen yogurt first dates the same. HEART-EYE EMOJI. 

“Quinn, your life story is starting to turn into a documentary that people would walk out of because it’s both too sad and too slow.”

Quinn was this occasionally pathetic-ish (but in an endearing way), air conditioner-loving, teenage boy that I could not help but root for. Quinn Roberts could’ve been guilty of white collar crimes and have a missing Picasso hiding in his closet, and still I would’ve rooted for him. (I think accidentally I just predicted that Quinn will grow up to be Matt Bomer on White Collar, when I think it’s more likely Quinn grows up to write the script for the White Collar Movie.)

Quinn is this super cool screenwriter wannabe! Parts of the book are actually told in screenplay format, and it really adds to the development of Quinn’s character. We get to see how he wants things to play out, his disappointment when things don’t go as he planned, and how real life can be okay (or more than okay!), even if it doesn’t roll out like a movie.

But you know why this book was so great? Why I’m choosing to write an actual review as opposed to just taking .8 seconds to give it five stars on GoodReads? THE VOICE. The voice freaking rocked.


“If I took out my broken AC and cracked the window, I’d have to confront the reality that I might hear, like, birds, or worse: the merry squeals of neighborhood children. And who has the stomach for that kind of unannounced joy at this hour?” – Quinn Roberts, being relatable

image1.PNGIt was like reading an extension of Tim Federle’s Twitter, which is a compliment of the utmost esteem. If you follow him, you already know this. If you do not follow him, this probably sounds like an insult. Like, ugh if I wanted a book to be like Twitter I would save myself $18–or a run–and just stay on the Internet. But alas, this is a compliment, you negative book-haters. Because Tim Federle’s Twitter is SO FUNNY. 

Me and one of my best friends from college (hi, Pablo!) literally only communicate to each other via text screenshots of Tim Federle’s tweets and then the accompanying “hahahhahaha.” (See left for evidence.) We are such millennials that we should probably hate ourselves.

This book, despite its completely sad premise, is so funny. My sister had to keep being like, “Could you please laugh out loud alone in your bedroom a bit more quietly?” You should know, I don’t even laugh out loud at Friends, so thank God this confirmed I’m not indeed a zombie monster. I just have high comedic standards, tyvm.*

I generally am not into the “coming of age” label on books because I think it’s inaccurately overused. If your main character is casually doing a keg stand in chapter one and completing their Ivy League college apps in chapter two, I don’t feel they’re coming of age. I mean, I’m definitely still going to love your book about a clearly 3-dimensional character who loves both partying and studying, but I think they’ve already come of age. For me, coming of age is about experiencing things for the first time, and I think this label perfectly describes The Great American Whatever.

“And so I might not have a cellphone on me, or a sister at home, or a Dad at all, or a future, but holy shit I have the sky.”

Quinn Roberts totally came of age, and reading his journey was a fulfilling and satisfying experience! He lived, he cried, he fell in love, he died!–Quinn does not die. I’m sorry I said that. I was trying to rhyme. Please direct yourself to another website if you would like this book properly described to you as I am doing an awful job.

I can only accurately tell you this: you will not regret reading this book. I am not doing its plot justice. It is just good. Please trust me, so I can stop trying to explain my love. God, no one ever asked Ron to explain why he loved Hermione. They just accepted it, okay?


People who hate Comic Sans are my people.

Let me just also say one more thing very fast: Isobbedatthisbook. Is it clearer to read mushed up words when there’s a hashtag at the start? #Isobbedatthisbook?

Whatever, point is: I cried. Like SnapChat-able “Aren’t my eyes ~soooo~ blue when I cry” tears. So, love yourself and pick up Kleenex on your run home from the library.

Actually, you know what, pick up Kleenex on your run home from the bookstore. That’s right, millennial me is telling you to forego lattes for three days this week and buy this book instead. Because we should all own this comedic blessing on our color-coordinated shelves. It was that good. Like when you’d get 10+++/10 on an assignment in high school English. Books this good make you question all your other five-stars, but, rather than revoking previously given 5-stars, you add on some plus signs.


xo – Rosie

Rosie & Bean Rating: 5/5 donuts (with frosting) (and sprinkles) (and maybe even a hot chocolate on the side) (actually, I’m amending my order. I’d like a vanilla chai instead.)donuts 5 stars-01


* Does tyvm mean thank you very much. Is that a thing? Did I just invent the next million dollar acronym? Ok, bye.

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