ARC Review: Me Being Me is Exactly Insane As You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy

Friday, 3 July 2015
Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You, by Todd Hasak-Lowy
Publication: March 24, 2015, by Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 656
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!
Darren hasn't had an easy year.
There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.
Then one Thursday morning Darren's dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.
Told entirely in lists, Todd Hasak-Lowy's debut YA novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone, including yourself, is:
1. painful 2. unavoidable 3. ridiculously complicated 4. possibly, hopefully the right thing after all.  

My Thoughts:

When reading the summary for this one, I'll admit that I never expected for that to happen. By 'that,' I mean the shocker which Darren's dad spilled out at 6 AM with a chocolate donut in his hand. I never even made some sort of prediction or anything like that. Todd Hasak-Lowy presents readers with an unique way to reveal pride and a kind of LGBTQ concept revolving around being a teenager. Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You is a novel with a freaking long title, a freaking huge amount of pages, and lots and lots of love. It sure was memorable, if you ask me.

Normally I find it difficult to discover a book that impresses me in its own way that no author or writer can ever redo. Hasak-Lowy has given me that experience, where I felt the need to read the book at once, and I wouldn't been able to sleep if I hadn't finished it. Darren's story is so relatable, although I am no teenage boy. His voice is one just perfect for a high school student, and we can all agree onto going through some kind of situation like he did, whether it had to do with romance or family issues. It's actually a 2015 debut that I will never forget about, ever. If I had to give my little sister a YA book about importance of friendship and love, I'd hand her this one first.

"It was the running-away thing that got him thinking of Zoey. Obviously. There were a million things that got him thinking of Zoey, so maybe that wasn't such a big deal. Cigarettes, nose rings, buses, his forearm, wooden stairs, planets, it was kind of endless." (ARC, page 362)

Characters these days are always trying to find who they are!

Another statement to describe this book, preferably in one word? Strange. I guess that it was all coming from Darren's identity, and please don't picture his sexual identity. Darren is the perfect example of a YA protagonist who doesn't quite fit the typical picture. He claims himself to be "fat," tall, bigger than his brother and socially awkward. Hasak-Lowy continuously claims that Darren doesn't have any friends, and I guess that his situation becomes even worse when his dad drops the bombshell, his brother goes psycho with drugs, and he falls in love with Zoey, the girl who once went to his school as a little kid but then mysteriously left, and shows up at his high school. Who can blame the poor tenth grader for struggling to discover who he is (and if he's gay, at that matter), who he loves and what kind of role he wants to pursue in life. That's the main thing. 

I guess that from the previous statement above, you're probably able to distinguish what the author is throwing at readers. Darren's parents are divorced, he has no friends, his brother is in college far away and he basically has no love life, either. When his dad drops a bombshell that changes his life forever, Darren struggles to even stay at his home and decides to head to his brother Nate, for advice at his college. Alongside, he brings along Zoey, who gives him a ride, and they spend a few nights that they'll never forget about, and when they come back, all is silent and things seem to go back to normal but Darren can't forget about the epic love story that he could begin.

It is an epic love story. Hasak-Lowy actually presents his writing to be similar as to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, with as much humour and laughter present from readers. It's just such a great story that I regret not reading sooner, closer to the release date. Now that it's come into my arms, I strongly and highly recommend purchasing a huge, mega hardback copy, curling on the sofa, and devouring it in one long sitting. The romance was just on-point, and I adored the fact that Darren was intrigued to go for a rebellious girl who puts him on edge. Trying to be a rebel, my friends, and doing drugs and not knowing the difference between being sober and high is some of the struggles that Zoey and our lame friend Darren had, but it all turned out okay in the end. It had remnants of so many other contemporaries I've read in the past, and it's a novel that you don't even pay attention of the pace to. 

"He wishes Zoey had three hands so he could hold one of them. The more he sits there, the more he has trouble figuring out where he ends and Zoey begins, which feels like the answer to a question he's been asking himself for a while." (ARC, page 194)

Perfect explanation in one sentence instead of my rambling.
Did I even mention that this was written using lists? Like Liz Czukas' contemporary sophomore novel, Top Ten Clues You're Clueless, this is also a contemporary romance filled with lists to organize this guy's thoughts. Although in the end, readers aren't even sure if Darren thought about these in his mind, or if they're part of some kind of diary or just random to tell his story. That's the cool part about it, too. It was a quick way to read the book, it was a method of writing that seemed short and sweet, but actually took so much time to read and comprehend. That's part of why this didn't go in the best direction for me. The continuing questions that Darren kept asking himself kind of threw me off, and I wanted these lists to help him grow, no?

Hasak-Lowy's writing is lovely, you cannot simply deny this. If he writes another contemporary novel in the future, I'll certainly go out and purchase it because it's so imaginative but real at the same time. His idea could've went somewhere else, much farther than what the eye sees/reads, but I liked it anyways.

Darren, why were you such an uncomfortable young child? I wish that he was more open to making a better relationship with his parents, it just seemed too awkward, even if he gave his mother a big hug. This guy wanted romance in his life so badly, but then he wasn't able to give the people that matter the most the biggest love of all. His rage and weirdness around them kind of frustrated me when I was able to see the way he was around Zoey or his brother. Ugh. For me, confidence and happiness in characters is a must, I hate when they're simply miserable for no reason. First example of a moody guy? Darren. 

I have to say that this was just a joyful, fun novel to keep by your side on a nice summer evening. Take that back, it'll take you more than a few hours. But actually, it doesn't feel like it's a total long-lasting book, it's something that's so memorable and unique in contemporary fiction's eyes, I haven't ever read anything like it. So, go ahead, buy your stellar copy, and get a head start, because you'll find yourself realizing the importance of self-worth and friendship.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

What are your favourite 2015 debuts? This one is trés adorable.


  1. I've always been curious about this book, and how it's written. Should be interesting to see how it works.

    1. I'm excited to hear everyone's thoughts! There aren't that many positive reviews floating around in the blogosphere, but everyone can always something in it that they like! :D


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