I'd told you I was going to be reading a lot of YA fiction this year.
I actually read Submarine by Joe Dunthorne because I wanted to recommend another book to my brother (who happens to be 16 years old and very susceptible to book/music/film recommendations). I feel like in a world where stuffy old books (or maybe they're good but not that captivating) are routinely handed out in school, it's important to have someone who can recommend real books with relatable characters. Otherwise it's no wonder that people just don't read on their free time. This turned out to be a very pretentious paragraph, but you catch my drift.
Submarine is about a fifteen year old boy named Oliver Tate who lives as an only-child in Wales. Oliver is different than others his age because he's obsessed with learning new words and in many ways he is older than his age. However, just like his friends the majority of his life revolves around sex and the issue of how to keep a girlfriend once you've got one. Plus saving your parents' marriage because your mother is obviously cheating with her meditation instructor. Oliver is, as you may have gathered, a little bit prone to paranoia.
This book was hilarious (in a fairly British way) and I really enjoyed the way it was written. There was a lot of different things going on and the story was nicely paced without ever letting you lose interest. Oliver as a character was incredibly funny (who doesn't enjoy a guy who writes down a "new word" every day and overthinks and analyses every situation?) but at times I found him slightly... Obnoxious. Downright dislikable, actually, in particular during times of the book when he seems somewhat successful with the ladies. Be warned that as it is a book about a boy at the age of 15, this is not a book that would be handed out during English classes. Even I was slightly disturbed by the depictions of various bodily fluids at times. Also, I won't recommend this to my brother simply because it's quite difficult to read if you're not using English every day (but this may serve as a bonus point for anyone who is more fluent in English). Finally I'd like to point out the nice little fact that it's set in Wales which I never get to hear much about but that there are constant references to stuff that I've learnt to love in the UK. Tesco etc.