"I may not know how to fly but I know how to read and that's almost the same thing."-- Gregory Maguire, Out of Oz

"...while finding true love was one of the most splendid things that could happen to you in life, finding a friend was equally splendid." -- Felix J Palma, The Map of the Sky

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Last Stop This Town by David H Steinberg

Four teenage boys--a ladies man, a lover, a dork, and an oddball--are looking for one last hurrah together, partying it up and trying to get laid, before they have to grow up and go off to college. 

Does the plot seem familiar? Tragically, it's the same plot given to us by Adam Herz, in American Pie. David H. Steinberg, who is credited with writing the storylines for American Pie 2 and American Pie: Book of Love, should, and probably does, know this.

As a fan of the American Pie movies, I entered into this book with slightly more than an open mind; I was pretty damn excited! And even though the first few chapters did make me laugh, the more I read the more I found myself waiting for the story to pick up. I eventually came to a realization: This is all there is.

Here's the problem and there is no way of getting around it: This story is like evidence that Steinberg peaked with AP2. This story reads like a retelling of AP1, with a slightly less focused plot and different character names. With the success of the American Pie franchise, a knock-off seems cliché and cheap; problems made worse by the lack of detail in character development. This story is told in a: "This is what happened---> This is what they said..." format, without any real attention to the characters thoughts or emotions. With a screenplay, maybe these aren't important details. After all, isn't that what the actors are for? To give fictional characters, physical expression? But in a book, there are no actors and readers do need the details or else the characters are rendered meaningless.

These flat, unrealistic characters that got shoved into a ridiculous, done-better-the-first-time plot, get kind of boring. Especially, as the the end of the story draws to a close, you see no real sign of character evolution--except for the characters saying that they've evolved. And how can they evolve? They've been typecast. You know who they are and where they will predictably go.

Is this original? No. Is it entertaining? Yes, if you can manage not to overthink it.

But I like to overthink my books.

Rating: 3/5

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