By: Sarah Ahiers
Title: ENTER TITLE HERE
Author: Rahul Kanakia
Publication Info: Disney Hyperion, August 2nd 2016
This book. Ohhhh this book. Let me count the ways in which I love you (okay, because this is a blog post, I’m sticking with a count of 3, but it’s still a count.) Before all of that, though, some quick background and the book synopsis.
Reshma Kapoor is her school's valedictorian, an honor she's come by both because she works harder than everyone else and knows how to game the system, but also because she's not afraid to sue the school when things aren't going her way. When a literary agent approaches Resh and asks her to write a YA novel, Resh immediately agrees, since it will help her get in to Stanford. She decides her novel will be the story of her life, and so she sets out, determined to have the type of experience all YA novels must have (a boyfriend. A best friend. Kissing. Sex.) The novel Resh is writing is the novel ENTER TITLE HERE.
Reasons why I loved this book:
When Resh and her father get litigious (which happens more than once, both in back story and in the present plot) it is frequently related to race, and the idea of racism.
In many ways Resh is very unlikeable (see reason #2 for more on this) but whether she’s being litigious because she wants to win or because people are actually being racist are themes that are unpacked throughout the novel.
Resh isn't. She's mean, manipulative, vindictive and does whatever it takes to get what she wants. And yet I still rooted for her the whole time. Which just goes to show the whole "likeable" female protagonist idea is bunk. Resh has agency from the first page to the very last. And even when I thought she was making mistakes, or handling things poorly, I was invested in her story.
As I said above, the novel ENTER TITLE HERE is the novel that Resh is writing in order to land a literary agent, a novel about her life, well, about the life she decides she’s going to start living in order to make a best-selling YA novel.
I think this novel would appeal to fans of Contempory YA, especially for those looking for something with limited romance (there is some, but, again, Resh is trying to follow a script she’s written for her life, so it comes with disingenuity) or those looking for complicated female friendships.
I think it may not appeal to those readers who really need to relate to a main character on a deep level in order to enjoy a story, because unless they see some of themselves in anti-hero Resh, they may not be able to look past some of Resh’s more trying qualities to enjoy the story and the writing.