Book: She’s Dating the Gangster

"She's Dating the Gangster"

It all starts when 17-year-old Athena Dizon unwittingly plays a trick on resident heartthrob and bad boy, Kenji de los Reyes. All of a sudden, she finds herself pretending–unwillingly at that–to be his girlfriend to make his ex jealous.

Now, not only does she have to deal with dirty looks from girls in school who want Kenji for themselves, but her supposed hotheaded boyfriend is getting on her nerves. He’s hotheaded, never seems to agree with her on anything–and everything about him screams ‘gangster.’ Has Athena gotten herself into more trouble than she can handler? Or has she actually found herself a boy she can call hers–‘gangster’ be damned?

What the actual fuck.

Yes, I cursed. No, I’m not taking it back. And yes, I know that this is published fan fiction. Never mind that I found out after I read it, I would have still given the book a try.

I just didn’t expect it to be that horrible.

The story is standard soap opera fanfare: Girl meets boy. Girl pretends to be boy’s girlfriend. Girl falls in love with boy, but has a secret that will tear them apart.

If this were written better, the novella could actually have been good. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The editors in Summit Books really need to work on how they pick stories. I’m not saying they have to be classics-in-the-making. But they should at least have a clear progression of where things are going.

At the very least, the books should have characters who aren’t two-dimensional.

Or, I’m not asking for much, a story that actually has a clear structure of where it’s been and where it’s going.

She’s Dating the Gangster has the potential to be a funny coming-of-age novella about how image is perceived by people, and how people are more than their looks. But by the novella’s last page, the potential doesn’t just remain a potential, it has become a far-fetched possibility that exists in an alternate universe where this book went through an editor first before being published.

Apologies for that run-on sentence that’s training for a marathon. The novella has me that worked up.

Funny thing is, I didn’t want to disparage the book for fear of hurting the feelings, or sensibilities, of what I thought was an adolescent writer. And then I read the last page–the one about the author.

I don’t know the author personally, and I have nothing against her. But for someone who graduated with a degree in psychology– Scratch that, with a bachelor of science degree in psychology– you’d think she would have a better handle on the development and progress of emotions.

Or, at the very least, a good handle on character.

I had to fight the urge to throw the book at least six times while reading the novella.

High school students disappear for days at a time without repercussions from family members; family members are treated as background characters who exist for the sake of existing–and brothers don’t even react when the guy their sister hates crawl into bed with her! And then there’s the best friend who doesn’t know squat.

And I wouldn’t pretend to know how the high school caste system works now, after the proliferation of Asian dramas, but I’m pretty sure they’re unlike the high school scenes from Gossip Girl.

Summit Books, I implore you, please pick better stories to publish.

3 thoughts on “Book: She’s Dating the Gangster

  1. Pingback: Press Release: Introducing Buqo – the all-new premier Filipino digital bookstore app | taking a break

  2. Pingback: Book: He’s Dating the Ice Princess | taking a break

  3. Pingback: Book: Una & Miguel | taking a break

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