5-star-book, holly bourne, realism, romance, the manifesto on how to be interesting, young adult

Holly Bourne: The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting – review

Author: Holly Bourne
Publish Date: 1 August 2014
Genre: Romance, realism
Audience: Young adult

4.5 stars

(N.B. This book deals with heavy and potentially upsetting issues such as self-harm and mental illness)

I had heard lots about ‘The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting’ from various reviews online, and after the slight disappointment of ‘Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls’, I was absolutely craving for some quality YA.

And this novel did not disappoint. ‘The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting’ has everything I needed from a YA novel. The plot’s intertwining sub-plots are complex and carry depth, and all those loose ends are satisfying tied up in a powerful, impacting conclusion. There also features a few very real, hard-hitting themes that young adults may find extremely easy to relate to such as mental health and self-harm; the author (Holly Bourne)’s occupation as an online advice journalist for The Mix allows this aspect to appear as realistic as possible.

The writing is similarly superb. Interesting, it is 3rd person narrative, and yet it has the same impact as if it was in 1st. Thus, the protagonist Bree is still deeply understood through her inner feelings, yet as a reader you have the chance to learn things Bree hasn’t, making it easier to sympathise with the situations.

What stops this book reaching near perfection is the ending. I will not spoil anything, but it did feel heavily clichéd and predictable, which was a disappointment after the unexpected twists that had occurred throughout the sub-plots. Whilst it did tie up loose ends, it created large uncertainties for Bree’s future which also added o my dissatisfaction. Having said that, it did not take too much away from the experience as a whole, especially as the last few lines pack quite a moral punch.

In conclusion, ‘The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting’ is an essential YA read; it has forbidden love, it has identity crisis’, and most importantly, it has relatable teenage drama. I can safely say that I have fallen in love with Holly Bourne, and will definitely be reading more of her novels in the near future!

Next read: ‘Notes on a Scandal’ by Zoe Heller

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