When a guy named Martin Nathaniel Munroe II texts you, it should be obvious who you’re talking to. Except there’s two of them (it’s a long story), and Haley thinks she’s talking to the one she doesn’t hate.
A question about a class project rapidly evolves into an all-consuming conversation. Haley finds that Martin is actually willing to listen to her weird facts and unusual obsessions, and Martin feels like Haley is the first person to really see who he is. Haley and Martin might be too awkward to hang out in real life, but over text, they’re becoming addicted to each other.
There’s just one problem: Haley doesn’t know who Martin is. And Martin doesn’t know that Haley doesn’t know. But they better figure it out fast before their meet-cute becomes an epic meet-disaster . . .
Title: Technically, You Started It
Author: Lana Wood Johnson
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
This was a nice book written in text format. I’m not a big fan of the text format for a plethora of reasons, but I was intrigued by this book because of the description.
There were many things I thought this book did really well, the main one being showing emotion through texts. With a book like this, there is no way to tell what the character is thinking or feeling without them coming right out and saying it in a text. Or, by the way Wood Johnson did it, by capitalizing words, sending lots of texts when one person is worried or freaking or, or sending one-worded texts when someone is angry, etc. So while we weren’t able to hear exactly what the characters were thinking or know firsthand what they were feeling, their texts did a really great job of revealing it.
As well, while the texts are mainly between M and Haley, there are a couple of texts exchanged between Haley and another character, or M and another character. Wood Johnson differentiates between the people by making the texts look different. M and Haley both communicate in full sentences with perfect grammar and spelling. Other characters would add emojis or not capitalize words or other things along those lines. That way, it was easy to tell we were speaking with a different character.
There was one aspect of this book, due to the format, that was really annoying to me. There was so much that happened off-screen and the characters would re-cap through text messages in some way or another. Wood Johnson did a really good job of making sure the reader know what had happened when the characters weren’t texting, but it always felt like I was showing up to the party late and having to hear second-hand all the exciting things that had happened.
I did get a little bored about halfway through. It was hard for me to stay interested when it was literally just two characters talking to each other the whole book. And in the middle, it didn’t feel like there was loads happening. Just kinda filler.
Also, this was just a drawback of the format of the book, I had no idea how anyone looked. I didn’t realize it would bug me so much until we were talking about six main characters and I had no idea how to differentiate between them because I didn’t know how they looked.
Overall, this book sits right in the middle for me. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. And I think I’ve pretty much decided I don’t want to ever read text-formatted books ever again.