Title: Looking for Group
Author: Rory Harrison
Series: NA/ Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: April 25th, 2017
Pages: Kindle, 368
My Rating: 2.5 Stars
Thelma & Louise meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in a brave, timely YA about two teens who embark on a cross-country road trip.
Dylan doesn’t have a lot of experience with comfort. His room in the falling-down Village Estates can generously be categorized as “squalid,” and he sure as hell isn’t getting any love from his mother, who seemed to—no, definitely did—enjoy the perks that went along with being the parent of a “cancer kid.”
His only escape has been in the form of his favorite video game—World of Warcraft—and the one true friend who makes him feel understood, even if it is just online: Nuba. And now that Dylan is suddenly in remission, he wants to take Nuba on a real mission, one he never thought he’d live to set out on: a journey to a mysterious ship in the middle of the Salton Sea.
But Nuba—real-life name Arden—is fighting her own battles, ones that Dylan can’t always help her win. As they navigate their way west, they grapple with Nuba’s father (who refuses to recognize his daughter’s true gender), Dylan’s addiction, and the messy, complicated romance fighting so hard to blossom through the cracks of their battle-hardened hearts.
In a way, my brain registers that this is an important book. It explores sexuality in a way that YA books I’ve read have not explored yet. But here’s the thing – I was so confused by how it was explored in this book as well. The main character Dylan is gay, and the other character Arden is a trans woman, so that makes her a girl if we are to follow the events in the book. But then Dylan and Arden falls in love, and it just made my brain go, “Oops, what the heck is happening here?” If someone knows how this works, please explain it to me because I just don’t get it, and I just can’t get over that fact.
Other than that, my main problem is that I couldn’t connect with the characters nor the story. I think I couldn’t connect with the story because of my luck with road trip YA novels. But the characters, I’m just so confused by them. I don’t want to say that Dylan is whiny, but Dylan is whiny. And Arden was just confusing. Also, I think that the characters don’t have enough depth to them. I feel like I couldn’t describe in a way that I could describe other characters, and that was a huge problem for me.
I liked the resolution of this book though. I like how everything was not perfect – because that’s how real life is like. It wasn’t sunshine and kisses and happily ever after, and we know that the story goes on even if we can’t see them anymore. The novel ended in a neutral note – neither happy nor sad – though I know that in the future there will still be a lot of happy and sad times. In that way, I think the ending was realistic.
Overall, I didn’t like much about the novel because I couldn’t connect with the story nor the characters. I like that it explores LGBT and cancer, but it had me confused as heck.