Saturday, May 12, 2018

Review: How You Ruined My Life by Jeff Strand

How You Ruined My LifeTitle: How You Ruined My Life
Author:  Jeff Strand
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire 
Publishing Date: April 3rd, 2018
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Contemporary/Humor 
Series:  Stand Alone
Source:  Audio

Rod and his cousin take family rivalry to a new level in this rollicking comedy from Jeff Strand.

Rod's life is pretty awesome. He plays in a punk rock band that's starting to score gigs and has a great girlfriend. Then he learns that his rich cousin, Blake, will be staying with him for three months—moving into his room, moving in on his girlfriend and band, and basically ruining his life! Prankster Blake has his own ideas on how Rod should live, but his efforts to get Rod girls and bring people to the band's shows are the opposite of helpful. Between Blake's ridiculous pranks and Rod's increasing paranoia, this semester might be the cousins' most memorable yet. That is, if their hijinks don't kill them first.

I found this book on Netgalley and thought it sounded fun and humorous so I grabbed, added, and read. I actually read this on audio after it was released and I am glad that I did. The audio was quite fun. I think the narrator did a great job capturing it all. The characters were okay. The story was interesting. I had fun reading this book. It wasn’t a wow factor for me but it was a good light read that was good between the deep and heavy books I had read recently.
Rod has a good life. He has his friends, his band, his girlfriend. He was pretty happy. He lives alone with his mom and although they don't have much, they have what they need. Yup life is good, until the day his cousin, Blake, arrives to stay with them for 3 months. Rod remembers Blake being a brat when they were younger. He has high hopes that maybe Blake has changed. Nope, Blake has not changed and now Rod believes that Blake is out to ruin his life. Things happen and Rod's life begins to spin out of control. 

This isn’t a book with some deep emotional connection or a story where wisdom comes in the end. It’s a story about how teenagers can let their mind get away from them and also a story about how teenagers can just be mean and really kind of dumb. There are a lot of selfish and dumb characters in this book, but it worked well for the story. The main character, Rod, well I am not sure what to say about him. I didn’t love him but I didn’t hate him. He was a little self-absorbed, but he wasn’t crazy and he wasn’t a bad guy. He liked his life and he was happy. That was until his cousin, Blake, came into his life. I did feel bad for him most of the book, but I also wondered how much he was believing and what was actually true.
I don’t want to give too much away because part of the fun of this book was wondering if Rod was crazy or if Blake was crazy. The thing is, Rod never sees Blake do any of the things that are getting out of hand in his life. Rod believes that Blake is sabotaging his life, his school, his friends, his girlfriend, the band… but not much proof. There are a few things he has seen as a fact, like the way Blake acts when it’s just them and how Blake acts around others. He also knows that there are things happening and things people are saying that is not the truth. But proof that Blake did it all, that is what he lacks. Rod’s life does spiral out of control, along with his mind. I felt so bad for him but I also felt at times he was responding in the wrong way. He could maybe turn it all around if he tries a different approach.

The book wasn’t as funny as I had hoped it would be but after a few reviews, I was worried it would be funny at all. It was. It had a few laughs out loud moments and more than a few giggle moments. So I am happy with the level of funny. I found the story interesting. It was well written and progressed nicely. The story was a little unrealistic, it didn’t ever feel that way. I didn’t mind that it wasn’t real life stuff. It was a nice break from the real stuff for sure. The ending was the best part, it was also the funniest for me. I think it ended so perfectly

If you are looking for an over the top but funny and light read, you may enjoy this one. I did.

Jeff Strand

Author of a bunch of demented books, including PRESSURE, DWELLER, A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO, WOLF HUNT, SINGLE WHITE PSYCHOPATH SEEKS SAME, BENJAMIN'S PARASITE, FANGBOY, THE SINISTER MR. CORPSE, and lots of others. Four-time Bram Stoker Award finalist. Four-time Bram Stoker Award loser. Ten-time Bram Stoker Award Master of Ceremonies.


  1. When I saw the blurb, I honestly did not know what to make of this book, but I can appreciate a light, fun read.

  2. I don't think this would be a good fit for me, but I understand the need for "just for fun" books between some of the others. I feel like everything I've read lately has been dark or depressing. Before I Let You Go is about a baby being born addicted to heroin and a mother's battle to get it back after rehab, and also the impact those decisions are having on her sister. Her own history is twisted and awful. Froi of the Exiles had a lot of tragic elements, too. The Female of the Species...ugh. Murder, mystery and mayhem. It's why I'm reading Geekerella right now! I needed something fun, and this has been perfect.

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

  3. Sorry this one wasn't as funny as you were hoping it would be, but I'm glad you mostly liked it in the end.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction


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