About Books #60: The Manifesto on How to be Interesting

So you know how in Mean Girls, the popular clique must be infiltrated? Now imagine that as a scientific experiment. Voila, you’ve got The Manifesto on How to be Interesting. Only, you know. Probably not as good as the book actually was!

The story

Apparently I’m boring. A nobody. But that’s all about to change. Because I am starting a project. Here. Now. For myself. And if you want to come along for the ride then you’re very welcome.

Bree is a loser, a wannabe author who hides behind words. Most of the time she hates her life, her school, her never-there parents. So she writes.

But when she’s told she needs to start living a life worth writing about, The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting is born. Six steps on how to be interesting. Six steps that will see her infiltrate the popular set, fall in love with someone forbidden and make the biggest mistake of her life.

From the bestselling author of Soulmates comes a fearlessly frank take on school, cliques and crushes.

The opinion

First things first: this book needs a couple of trigger warnings. If

  • self harm
  • (unvoluntary) suicide attempt
  • relationship between a minor and an adult
  • blackmail

sound like the kind of things that might trigger you? Then I would advise you to stay away from this one. While most of Holly Bourne’s work deals with mental health in some way, it feels like… Well, I felt it was not at all clear from this book’s description that would be also – to such an extent – the case in this book. So just… Take that with you.

Moving on from that.

I feel like this book narrates the kind of experiment that most of us would probably have liked to done during high school. I know I, at least, wished I could somehow be part of the “popular crowd”. You know, to the extent that we really had one of those. Unfortunately, the result turns out to be not quite what might have been hoped. If anything, I really have to applaud Holly Bourne for the way she handles the fall out. Because honestly, in a book like this? There’s always going to a fall out, isn’t there?

Another thing I really like about this book: Bourne lets her characters be unlikeable. Honestly, there were so many points where I just wanted to shake the main character – get some sense in her. Or, you know, slap certain other people into an alternate universe. And maybe the best things? The populars? They’re not pure evil. The “commons”? They’re not pure victims. What’d’ya know, right?

The rating: 3.5/5

Honestly, I probably would’ve given this book a higher rating if I hadn’t been so taken aback by some of the things that, in my opinion, would’ve required TW. I get that exactly the fact that you couldn’t see it coming, made this book so powerful. However. Read by someone with a history of some of these elements? This book could be extremely triggering. If you’re good with that, though, and you want your thoughts provoked? Definitely give this one a read. (Goodreads)

-Saar