12 Steps to Quitting AJ by Faye Ilogon
Publisher: Summit Books
Number of pages: 142
My copy: paperback, bought from NBS
Grace and AJ are like Christmas lights—off and on, again and again. But their last breakup was devastating. It was enough to make Grace want to run him over in her pale pink Beetle. She even composed 12 steps to quitting him, which wasn’t easy because he admittedly was her first love—the boy she lost her heart to when she was still collecting Hello Kitty stationeries; the boy she never stopped loving since. But something happens that changes Grace’s life forever. Now it’s time for her to reevaluate everything she has going for her and make a decision. Is this the end of Grace’s life as she knows it? Or is she finally going to have the happy ending she so desperately needs?
* * *
I can’t remember if I mentioned it before, but I’m not really sold on what local chick lit can offer. Blame it on bad experience with the first few books I read, I guess. Plus, sometimes I feel like the story is too short for the price of P150/book. I mean, I can read the entire thing in a couple of hours, for crying out loud.
But I’m kind of glad to see that the stories are improving and are being slightly more relevant at this time, and the protagonists are more spunky and interesting and less flat than the others I read a couple of years ago.
Of course, I may be just deciding that the other characters are flat on the old books I read because they’re not really my kind of stories, you know?
Anyway, 12 Steps to Quitting AJ is one of those greatly improved books that I’m referring to. The story seemed simple at first, and I half-expected it to be another story about a girl who can’t let go of the guy, who’d meet a new guy and she’d realize that she had the best guy all along. It wasn’t that — there wasn’t even another guy. There was a gay friend, another girl, and a whole lot of personal issues with Grace, and even a bit with AJ. It was a bit hard to really get into the story immediately, because the story wasn’t written in a chronological order. The story tends to jump from one time frame to another, but I think it’s quite effective because it gives us a view of how Grace thinks.
Grace definitely had issues, and they’re not the light issues like what are the safest fat burners around. While I didn’t agree on how she finally got over them (sort of), I thought AJ was a very nice male protagonist. AJ seems like a bad boyfriend at first, but he redeemed himself at the end very well, and he may just be the right person to offset Grace’s neurotic tendencies.
Oh, and what’s fun about this book is there were so many references to 90’s stuff! Betty and Veronica, songs for Grace’s playlists, and even a poke at the pink MMDA fences, care of one of Grace and AJ’s friends.
Overall, it’s a nice novel, one you’d like to lose yourself in for a couple of hours. 12 Steps to Quitting AJ reminded me that love isn’t really a step-by-step formula, it requires a lot of honesty for a relationship to work and loving someone is ultimately a decision to stick with them through thick and thin. :)