Thursday, October 30, 2014

G446 Book Review of Bad Taste in Men by Lana Cooper

Name of Book: Bad Taste in Men

Author: Lana Cooper

ISBN: 9780615899602

Publisher: self published

Type of book: 1980s-1990s, teenage crushes, relationships, close siblings, failures, desires, middle school to college, humor, small town

Year it was published: 2013


Have you ever felt like even Mother Theresa has got more game than you?
If you have, you'd be in the same boat as geeky, awkward metalhead Nova Porter.

Bad Taste In Men follows Nova from her prepubescent years through young adulthood and her attempts at getting dudes to dig her.

Juggling self-esteem issues, small town outsider status, and questionable taste in guys, Nova is looking for love in all the wrong places - like the food court at the mall. Nova's circle of friends and her strange(ly) endearing family more than make up for what her love life lacks.

Along the way, Nova alternately plays the roles of hero and villain, mastermind and stooge; picking up far more valuable life lessons than numbers for her little black book.

One part chick lit for tomboys and one part Freaks and Geeks for kids who came of age in the mid-'90s, Bad Taste In Men is loaded (like a freight train) with pop cultural references and crude humor.

From getting laughed at by your crush to being stood up (twice!) by a guy with one eye, Bad Taste In Men showcases the humor and humiliation that accompanies the search for love (or at least "like") as a small-town teenage outcast, managing to wring heart-warming sweetness from angsty adolescent memories - and jokes about barf and poop.


The main character includes Nova who begins to crush on guys but the catch is that the guys she seems to like only want the dreaded "friends zone," and nothing beyond that. She is into heavy metal music, has a close relationship with her brother and wants nothing more than to experience a first kiss and a crush, only to be devastated. There are other characters presented such as Nova's young brother Orion, numerous crushes as well as Nova's girlfriends. Most of the guy crushes that Nova likes have similar hobbies and music tastes to her, but I often felt that I wasn't very privy to their inner workings, which is what I would have wanted. I did like Orion's character and liked that they were close to one another.


Basically, you have to go through way too many frogs before finding a happily ever after


The story is in first person narrative from Nova's point of view and its seen as chronological from the time she is eight up until she is nineteen, although there are two extra chapters which serve as an epilogue of sorts. The last few pages should be tinted with gold because I agree with a lot what Nova has learned, but its not focused on Nova growing as a woman or a character though. It read very similarly to Lisa Loomis's Boy in a Band for me because I don't know much of the workings beyond the exterior that Nova chooses to present to others.

Author Information:
(From the kit)

About the Author
Lana Cooper was born and raised in Scranton, PA and currently resides in Philadelphia. A graduate of Temple University, she doesn't usually talk about herself in the first person, but makes an exception when writing an author bio. Cooper has written extensively on a variety of pop culture topics and has been a critic for such sites as PopMatters and Ghouls On Film. She's also written news stories for EDGE Media, a leading nationwide network devoted to LGBT news and issues. Cooper enjoys spending time with her family, reading comic books, books with lots of words and no pictures, and avoiding eye-contact with strangers on public transportation. "Bad Taste In Men" is her first full-length novel.
Her latest book is the humorous nonfiction, Bad Taste in Men.
For More Information


Aside from being a lone wolf and being lied to almost the time back in school, believe it or not I could relate to the story that Nova was telling. I have to wonder if the story is more autobiographical than fictional? Like Nova, I suffered far more heartbreak than I care to admit, and in some cases I was pretty nuts about guys. As a teenager as well, I never thought that I'd be kissed or that I'd be with someone who's going to like the old fashioned me. At one point, just like Nova asked one of her crushes to help her lose the virginity, I desperately asked a guy to be my first kiss, which he refused. (I was seventeen and a half when I made that desperate plea, month later I got my first kiss from a guy I crushed on for a very long time.) I'm not sure if anyone even likes reading these embarrassing moments about me, but yeah, why not a five star rating? As mentioned, I very strongly related to Nova's lack of love life, but I did feel that the story was a tad too long and I also think that fiction or not, there should have been some successes and failures so to speak, instead of only failures. The whole story is similar to banging your head against the wall and not making a dent in it. Also one small thing, I didn't find the foreign Asian references funny, although I think that's what the author was going for. I applaud that the main character actually thinks of expanding her horizons to Asian persuasion, but why does she mix Chinese references and then mentions he spoke Japanese? (Sorry, unable to resist, here's a skit Mad TV's Bobby Lee being "adopted", and no representation of anything Korean by the way.)

This is for Pump Up Your Book

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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