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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick Maybe it would make sense to start this review by mentioning that this book was honestly never on my radar before I found a stack of ARCs sitting at ALA 2013 Chicago. Something about the sheer size of the pile drew me in and convinced me to take a copy of this new, very hyped contemporary story about a teenage boy who has decided to make his 18th birthday the day where he shoots his former best friend and then commits suicide. The concept alone had me hooked, and when I finally picked this one out of the box of goodies, I dove into it based on the synopsis alone, which had me psyched. Was FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK the contemporary young adult book I’ve spent my whole life waiting for? Sadly, not really, but it was an interesting and engrossing story about a boy and the ways his world around him has failed him. Even if the novel itself did seem like a thinly veiled attempt at replicating the success of John Green, albeit in an even darker, more depressing way.MEET LEONARDLeonard Peacock definitely was one of the more interesting characters I’ve met in young adult fiction. Here we have an outcast who has a very bad background, seeing as how his mother totally forgets he exists and his father bailed on the family thanks to the feds being onto him. His best friend is the elderly next door neighbor he watches old movies with, a very racist and homophobic next door neighbor at that.Although Leonard comes off as a John Green hero about 90% of the time, complete with rambling footnotes that scream hipster, complete with a quirky romance with a girl he had no right messing with, I really enjoyed him. Maybe it was because I saw something of me in him, a kid left behind by the world, betrayed by a best friend and abandoned by the school, left to be a forgotten quirky loner on the outskirts of everything. This book will appeal to fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, for more than just the suicide angle, but definitely to the John Green crowd. The more that I think about it, the more that it seems I should be giving this a three, but in my head it deserves a four. It’s compelling, it’s unique, and it’s deceptive as you dive into the issues and realize the specifics. It’s strange, this book, but a book worth reading for sure.A WHOLE HOST OF ISSUESMy biggest problem with FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK was the fact that a lot of the issues were skimmed over. We never find out what happened to Asher and why he suddenly ditched Leonard beside the road, besides a very short explanation that is very vague and deliberately not revealing. On top of this, the ending… I seriously thought that there was more after that, but nope, it wraps up and you’re left in the middle of a scene, wondering what happens, wondering if Leonard’s life really wraps up like the film cut off during a movie.I wish that Quick had done a better job of wrapping up the threads instead of just leaving the ending VERY open to interpretation. It was very frustrating, especially given the circumstances leading up to it. And I wish that maybe it had taken the concept of mental illness more seriously, instead of using it as a very easily forgotten concept instead of a possible reality. But otherwise, this novel was enjoyable. Well, not enjoyable. It’s not very enjoyable to watch a teenage boy plot to murder someone for revenge for something that happened years ago, or to plot to kill himself with his grandfather’s war gun out of some sick sense that he is delivering justice to the world. But it was engrossing and I flew through the pages. That counts for something, right?VERDICT: Although very consuming and interesting, FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK falls flat on certain levels, such as the conclusion and the explanations. I wanted more than what it had to give, but what it gave makes for a very compelling novel about friendships and mental health.♥♥♥♥ - FOUR HEARTS