Shannon Hale is an author whom I've read now and then and have thoroughly enjoyed up to this point. Have to say I had to force myself to finish Kind of a Big Deal.
Josie Pie (her "stage name") is quite full of herself and her internal thoughts about what a big deal she was in high school quickly became annoying. I couldn't quite figure out whether Hale was poking fun at other genres when she included wacky offshoots from the main story (including a post apocalyptic zombie thread and raunchy romantic thread).
Almost from the first page, I could not stand the main character. Josie was a high school drop out (who thought she was really something special) who spent most of her time living in a fantasy world in her mind or in books. She has got to be the most ditzy and irresponsible nanny on the planet--times when she was not watching her charge very closely were painful to read. The side stories brought in topics that were stupid, creepy or unnecessarily explicit. I kind of felt like Hale was living out some of her own fantasies about writing other genres.
I guess if you are an angsty teen, who is desparate for others approval and need a boyfriend to complete you, then you might like this book. I know I was never that kind of teen and I question whether a story that caters to those baser qualities is even worth reading. I kept hoping for some redeeming quality or lesson gleaned from the book but it never came. I felt like I needed a mental and emotional cleanser after reading this book and I cannot in good conscience recommend it.
One other cautionary note for parents is that Josie's best friend is transgender and it is accepted as normal. Felt like that unnecessary element was included solely for the purpose of normalizing deviance. Josie's theatre teacher was also openly gay (reference to a husband). Again, seemed like it was thrown in just to check off the LGBT boxes and get more sales. That was a stretch too far for me.
Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Kind of Big Deal from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.