Finding Felicity, by Stacey Kade
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Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Length: 304 pages
Times Read: Once
Rating: Can you ever just be whelmed?
Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.
But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.
Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.
What I Liked: It’s time to accept that this author just might not be for me. I don’t think her books are BAD, but I don’t love them either. I like to love the books I’m reading. I wanted so badly to love this one. Felicity is one of my all time favorite shows, and combining it with YA made me squee. Kind of like Scream and There’s Someone Inside Your House, only that one really worked for me. But in the end, I’m just…whelmed (if you don’t get that reference then you’ve never seen 10 Things I Hate About You. Please go watch and fix your life immediately).
♥ The Felicity References. You don’t have to have seen the show to understand them, but it helps.
♥ Lexi. Much like Felicity and Megan, much like Cath and Reagan, Caroline and her roommate Lexi don’t get along at first. As time goes on they bond, and I liked her take no shit attitude. She drops some real truth on Caroline from time to time, and I liked that she didn’t let her get away with pity parties.
“What makes him so perfect and wonderful? Why does he get to ruin everything?”
♥ The One Night With Liam. It’s cringy to witness as a reader, but it was super realistic. You do…stuff, and even sleep in his tiny little extra long twin bed, only for him to turn super casual the next morning. Caroline finds herself in this situation, and afterwards, she feels embarrassed and lost. She followed him to college, after all. What would she do if he wasn’t an option?
♥ The college setting. I am 100% a sucker for books that take place in college but aren’t the super typical/gratuitous sex NAs out there. I actually loved the part when Caroline first gets to college and unpacks her room, goes to her first floor meeting, meets her RA. Unfortunately, she never meets her Julia and Elena, because she’s doing this shit all wrong.
What I Didn’t: It felt like there were too many TV references if you haven’t seen the show, but still not enough if you have, somehow.
⊗ Caroline actually, literally, following Liam to college. It’s the catalyst of the show Felicity, I get it, but something about it felt a little…wrong? Felicity made a last minute decision that changed her life on a TV show, but Caroline planned this shit. And where is she in all of this? What does she ACTUALLY want, besides Liam (who btw has a girlfriend, which Caroline is fully aware of).
⊗ Caroline’s mom. I get that she just found out her daughter has been lying to her for years and developed fake friendships with people and characters. I get that. But she still had trouble accepting the fact that her kid was going away to college. And trying to come pick her up and forcibly take her back home before freshman year is even over. No.
⊗ Completely underdeveloped side characters. Caroline finally, blessedly, starts making a few sort-of friends towards the end, and there’s even the interest of someone other than Liam. But we just don’t get to see enough of them, and we don’t get to see Caroline even talk that much to them. I wanted to see her build a real friendship with the new guy. He was obviously supposed to be her Noel, but we got nothing like this…
⊗ Fangirl competition. I couldn’t help but compare the two because both of the main characters are so socially awkward and both immerse themselves in fictional worlds. But where Fangirl shines, Finding Felicity merely has a hint of a glimmer.
Final Thoughts: I hoped for something more from this one. In the end, I think the author is talented, and she has a LOT of fans who love her work. I’m just not one of them. I’ve now read this one as well as 738 Days, and while I find the premises to her books to be absolute perfection, the execution just doesn’t work for me.
Favorite Quotes: “The mistake, I think,” she says. “Is believing that once someone else checks the ‘yes’ box on you, then you’ll have what you need. Then you’ll be happy, then you’ll be okay with yourself. I don’t think it works like that.”
“Just because some advice is easier to give than it is to take, Caroline, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”