Book Review: Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

Posted March 3, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 11 Comments

Ask Again Later

 by Liz Czukas

 Ask Again Later

Expected Publishing Date: March 11, 2014
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

Obtained Via: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is no way influenced my final opinion of the work.
Format Read In: E-ARC
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the story morning glory

 Despite what her name might suggest, Heart has zero interest in complicated romance. So when her brilliant plan to go to prom with a group of friends is disrupted by two surprise invites, Heart knows there’s only one drama-free solution: flip a coin.

Heads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother’s best friend really be?

Tails: The theater geek…with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart’s interests–even if he wants to share all his feelings?

Heart’s simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all…

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Ask Again Later was a really cute book that started off and stayed strong. Heart has such a unique voice–definitely a sixteen-year-old girl. She would say really profound things and then be really oblivious about romance and life, and I found that a bit refreshing. For the most part, I really liked Heart, though there were definitely some times I was rolling my eyes. But hey, that’s life and real people, right?  The middle of the book kind of lagged just a little bit for me, but it had a strong ending.

I loved the concept of Ask Again Later. It’s a parallel reality story, but it’s different from books like Pivot Point or Parallel because the subject is less serious and more fun. Some of the prom night antics take a turn for the more serious, but on the whole it’s not the big LIFE OR DEATH! situations of most parallel reality stories.
Each of Heart’s prom nights are vastly different, but it’s fun how certain things stay the same. I thought there was a really great balance struck with this–obviously, if there are two many events that repeat themselves the same ways no matter who Heart goes to the prom with, then what’s the point, right? I was feeling that in the first few chapters of the actual prom, but it picked up quickly.
As you can see, I really loved the plot of Ask Again Later. Unfortunately, the characters were what killed this one for me just a little. Like I’ve already said, I did like Heart for the most part, though she had some annoying moments. But some were  insufferable. One of Heart’s dates, Troy, was absolutely miserable to read about. This is acknowledged in the text–he’s torn up that he’s not with his girlfriend anymore, which is why he asked Heart in the first place–but I felt like it just took longer than I would have liked for Heart to realize how much of a jerk he was being towards her. It didn’t really negate my interest, but it did slow it down a little.
Ryan, Heart’s other date, was wonderful, and I loved reading about his sub-plot. No complaints there. Heart’s love interest did some cute things, but also acted quite unlikable for the good first half of the book. For the most part, Heart’s friends were supportive, though there were so many and they weren’t heavily focused on. It is nice to see that Heart has a group of friends. It’s common to see a YA protagonist with just ONE good friend, and while that certainly happens, it’s not always the case.
By the time it was over, Ask Again Later had a definite resolution, and it fit the story(there was really no other way for it to go), but I wanted just a little bit more. I would have really liked more build-up to the romance(I mean, there’s definitely build up during the book, but since most of that just takes place over prom, I would have liked to believe that Heart really did feel something for her love interest before that night, and I’m yet to be convinced), and I think that could have pushed this one into 5-star territory. As it is, Ask Again Later is still a great story I loved, despite a few flaws, and one that I remember several months after initially reading, which is its own recommendation.
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 Heart says some uncomfortable and stereotypical things to a gay character in the book. They’re all said in jest(they’re friends), and he sets her straight, but just the sheer AMOUNT of things she says in that vein made me a little uncomfortable. This definitely improved as the book went on, though, for which I was grateful.
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Ask Again Later had such a FUN plot and was pretty enjoyable! I originally gave this one 3 stars but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it, even several months later. While some characters annoyed me and I could have used just a little bit more of something towards the end, I still really liked and recommend this one. 4/5 cupcakes.
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4 Stars

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11 responses to “Book Review: Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

  1. UGH, Troy. He was so infuriating! But I just loved this book and I LOVED Chase <333 I'm so happy you enjoyed this one because I just had so much fun with it and I actually ENJOYED a prom story! Haha! 🙂

  2. Glad to see that you enjoyed this book despite some of the character problems. I would have felt uncomfortable too with the stereotypical comments.

    • Stormy

      It was really fun! And while the stereotypical comments annoyed me, I should point out they were all said in a really teasing/joking manner–Heart & the guy were good friends, but it was just the sheer amount of jokes that Heart made that made me raise my eyebrows at it a little.

    • Stormy

      Yeah, it could have been a bit tighter, but overall I really enjoyed it. I’m definitely looking forward to Czusak’s next book!

  3. I’ve seen Ask Again Later around the blogosphere lately. I’m not always (okay, almost never) a fan of parallel stories, but since this one seems pretty light, I may give it a try. I’m definitely in the mood for a lighter book right now.

    Thanks for the review – and the warning about what Heart says to her gay friend. I’ll be prepared.

    • Stormy

      It’s really light–the parallel story is really just a plot device, and isn’t a big focus at all. It’s a great lighter read!

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