“Bree is a loser, a wannabe author who hides behind words. 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.”
I picked this up at YALC for a few reasons – Holly Bourne was there and hopefully I’d be able to get it signed (I didn’t), it had bright orange edging on the pages, and the tile is frankly hella interesting.
At first, I really didn’t like Bree. Sure, I was enjoying the story – a seventeen year old wanting to get her writing published and feeling a bit of a social outcast? Hello, younger me! – but Bree grated on me. She was almost too cynical about life; trying to be above everyone at school and telling herself that it was a good thing that she didn’t care about any of it. I understood, but I didn’t really like her.
When Bree decides to start her blog, The Manifesto on How to be Interesting, and become an ‘interesting’ person – pretty, popular, having sex, etc. –I found I liked her more as the book went on. Not because she was suddenly attractive and hanging out with the cool kids and going to partied, but because she was opening up, becoming less cynical, and understanding that everything in school wasn’t as shallow as she’d thought before. And, she starts to realise that maybe ‘interesting’ isn’t exactly all about what she thinks it is.
And for that, I’d have to say that Bree is one of the best characters I’ve come across in a while.
It was so great to follow Bree’s journey as she works on the Manifesto and changes her life around. I loved the relationships that were built up (and destroyed, in some cases) and I loved the way that Bree maintained some of her cynicism about the whole thing, not losing all of herself in the project.
As for the other characters, I felt that Holly does an incredible job of making them all so fleshed-out; none of the other characters felt two-dimensional to me. Holdo, Bree’s best friend before the Manifesto starts, was great, even if he did grate on me at times; Jass was wonderful and I loved that she wasn’t written to be entirely shallow; Hugo, the eyecandy of the school, was really well-written to. Hell, the entire book was well-written! I loved the way Bree’s voice came across in the blog entries, too.
Also, I will say, as I do when necessary, there is a trigger warning for this book. Bree self-harms (though this is not described in detail) and even though it’s a very minor trigger warning at first, I will say that toward the end it’s probably a bit stronger. Just to warn anyone who needs it.
But even so, I’d recommend the book to anyone and everyone. It is FRICKIN AMAZING and I felt like Holly dealt with some of the heavier issues in it wonderfully – so hats off to her for such a wonderful book!