I have a confession to make: I’m a huge Gleek. I fell in love with the series and its characters since I started watching it, and now I can’t seem to get enough of it, to the point where I’ve made it a habit to watch at least an episode a week.
Being such a fan of the show, I thought the young adult novels would at least be a nice way of bridging the gap between the second and third seasons, so I got them once season 2 was over. The first of them (Which I’ll properly review at a later date) wasn’t horrible, yet it wasn’t something I’d recommend to anyone who isn’t a Gleek. However, logic said the second one would possibly be better, what with the author getting more comfortable with the setting and characters.
It isn’t noticeable from the beginning, but the book actually manages to be a much less enjoyable read than the first one, and the story is plagued with so many issues it’s a wonder anyone decided to publish it, and it becomes glaringly obvious it was only published because of the Glee brand it had attached – Take it away and nobody would’ve come close to this even by accident.
The novel itself starts in a pretty funny way, with the Glee club students getting excited about a new secret announcement Mr. Schuester is going to tell them, with each of the members having their own crazy ideas of what it could be. After spending the whole day wondering about it, Mr. Schuester finally tells them he had been speaking with the head of a French Glee club, and he had agreed to bringing his students to McKinley High for cultural week.
Once they arrive barely 12 hours after the announcement, the students are each paired up with a member of the opposite Glee club, and hilarity ensues.
Or at least I wish it had ensued. From this point on, the novel starts its slow but sure descent, with each page becoming worse than the one before, and the actual overall plot of the book being a mixture between no plot and a plot so ridiculous that having no plot at all would’ve been better.
The main issue with this is, the novel has zero of the charm of the series, it uses the characters and locales but the writing and characterizations are so badly done and so poorly worked it reads just as fine as an after school special aired by Lifetime Television, only without a moral teaching.
First, the plot: It seems to revolve around how each student gets along with their assigned pair, and in most cases the situations are so boring or stupid it makes it impossible to actually care about any of the characters or their stories at all, and even if you somehow cared about it the plot of what could be considered the main storyline (Rachel and Finn’s, as always) is something so unlikely to happen you may as well deem it impossible. A hint: It involves a French girl wanting to transfer all the way from France to McKinley so that she can avoid her ex-boyfriend and Glee club teammate. Oh, also said teammate spends the whole book stalking Finn, which paints him as a Stalker With A Crush, only to be finally revealed to just have been “Trying to keep whatshername safe”.
Yes, that’s the main plot. Side plots include Artie and Puck competing over a French girl (With Puck playing nasty, in a totally unexpected turn of events), Mercedes trying to help her French mate get a better look by getting him new clothes and crashing a cheerios party, Tina becoming friends with her French counterpart, a very shy artistic girl, and Kurt being followed everywhere by three French girls who love his fashion sense and fall for him after confusing gay with European (That’s an actual quote from the book). Needless to say, the most interesting storylines are Mercedes’ and Kurt’s, but not by much.
As for the characters, they’re the ones from the show (except for the French ones, all of which are horribly developed and made me want to cry), and if you think the show stereotypes them, this book actually manages to further stereotype said stereotypes. All characters are entirely plain, none of them seems to show a hint of humanity other than having whiny thoughts about all things and being horribly selfish.
The end of the line here is, this isn’t a very good novel, and it isn’t even a decent one. I absolutely love Glee, yet I must say this is the worst novel I’ve read in a very long time, and I can’t really recommend it to anyone. There are just too many excellent young adult novels out there, and reading this is akin with badly wasting your time. As for the author, I really hope Sophia Lowell isn’t a part of the writing team for season 3 of Glee, since if that’s the case the season is already doomed. This isn’t worth the paper is printed on or, in my case, the bandwidth spent on downloading it to my Kindle. Stay away from this.
Final review score: 1.5/5
Availability: The book is currently available on physical and digital form from Amazon.com
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