Author: Hannah Johnson
Publication Date: May 2, 2012
Howie gets a job at Artie Kraft's Arts 'N Crafts hoping to score with his lady coworkers. After all, girls love a sensitive guy, and what's more sensitive than dedicating your life to selling yarn and ... stuff? (Okay, so maybe it'd be a good idea to actually learn what one sells at an arts 'n crafts store.) But things don't go exactly according to plan. Coworker #1 is Cora: tiny, much-pierced, and way too fierce to screw with in any sense. Coworker #2 is Kristy: blonde, bubbly, unattainable perfection. And Coworker #3 is, well, Arthur. It goes without saying that he’s not an option. Right?
Yeah, Howie’s life just got straight up confusing.
"...the worst part is that I don't think she'd be horrified, or anything: she does write those books. She gets it. Stuff's gotta throb and heave and pulsate sometimes, it's just the way humans work."
"I make myself meet his eyes. They're green; I never paid attention before. This really light, interesting, intelligent green -- FUCK, this guy needs to STOP HAVING A FACE."
Even though I was laughing throughout the book it doesn't mean the book doesn't have its deep moments. It does. Howie is at a crossroads in his life and he just doesn't know what to do with himself anymore. Should he bother pursuing Arthur? Deny both himself and Arthur? If he doesn't what is he going to tell his family and friends?
"You know, I don't think it's worth it to deny yourself happiness just so you can stay faithful to the person you think you've become."
The boy was in an angsty place most of the time, but it was all done in a very humorous way. So even with the angst it never really gets weighed down too much and Howie and Cora are both just so damn funny.
All the characters are incredibly well rounded, from Howie and Arthur, to his friends, Mitch and Amber, to his coworkers, Cora, and Kristy to all the secondary characters. My top favorites were Howie, Cora, and Arthur. I mean someone who yells out "DO ME PIANO MAN" in the middle of a Christmas recital with a bunch of middle school kids is awesome in my books xD
"Welcome backstage, bitches," she whispers smugly. Backstage passes at a middle school choir concert. I hang with a crew who knows how to live."
Can't forget Rudy though! At first I thought he would be your stereotypical meathead football player and he was, but also not quite either. Rudy was in a category all on his own xD
"Well," I say, "too, uh, bad you didn't let me know sooner, I guess.""Nah," Rudy says sagely. That's the kinda stuff that you've gotta figure out on your own. I think. Soul searching's one of those things you do alone." Mitch and I sit in impressed silence at this wise reflection upon the nature of existence. "Like jerking off," he finishes, "or taking a dump." Aaand he's Rudy."
And the way some things were described! I just don't even know where Johnson came up with this stuff, yet it fits so well!
"As soon as the car gets turned on, the stereo starts blasting what sounds like ritual sacrifice having hideously violent sex with a cello. Kristy screams."
"Arthur stares at the menu the way a time-traveling seventeenth century Puritan would watch a Lady Gaga music video."
Then there is the relationship between Howie and his mom. They are great together! Even though there is no dad in the picture, and that was also part of Howie's issues. You could tell they all really loved each other even with their usual familial problems.
"You're not allowed to freeze your ears off. All of the other mothers will make fun of me for having the bizarre earless offspring, and I don't know if I'm secure enough to endure that.""In that case, I should probably let my ears freeze off for the greater good. It sounds like you are in need of some serious character growth, Mamacita.""Oh, hon. How did you become such a pain in the ass. Surely that all must come from Daddy's side."
And one last quote! :)
"Wow," I say, with (I like to think) the air of a levelheaded gentleman whose instinctive reaction is nothing along the lines of 'mmmmm yeah', "you're slutty when you're drunk."
"I am not." Kiss. "Drunk." Kiss. "just happy to see you." Kiss.
My neck might, at this moment, be having an even better night than I am.
"That's what all the sluts say."
"You're insufferable. I don't know why I suffer you."
"Right back atcha, baby"
May have gone overboard with the quotes, but I just couldn't help myself! xD