Ask Again Later
by Liz Czukas
Expected Publishing Date: March 11, 2014
Length: 336 pages
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
View from the Traffic Light:
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…
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.
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.
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.