I have no individuality. I’m a prisoner of my context
Nothing ever happens to Charlotte and Frankie. Their lives are nothing like the lives of the girls they read about in their YA novels. They just go to high school and live at home with their parents, who are pretty normal, all things considered. But when Charlotte decides to write down everything that happens during their sophomore year to prove that nothing happens and there is no plot or character development in real life, she’s surprised to find that being fifteen isn’t as boring as she thought. It’s weird, heartbreaking, silly, and complicated. And maybe, just perfect.
1 / 5
When you pick up a book entitled “Nothing”, which on the back proclaims to be about two girls to whom nothing ever happens, you probably ought not to be too upset when that’s exactly what you get: a book about nothing. It’s not like it was trying to hide it, right? But when I put this book down, I was still a bit disappointed to reflect and realise that that was exactly what I had got.
Charlotte and Frankie are two normal fifteen year old girls. Yeah, they have small insignificant romances, go to parties, have a few drinks, and occasionally smoke a little bit of weed, but nothing important ever seems to happen to them. So as her sophomore project, Charlotte decides to write down everything that happens to them and finds her life isn’t so boring after all – except it kind of is. Barrows manages to encapsulate the teenage experience well, it’s quite a relatable book, but it’s not exactly interesting.
“I keep saying, “Woah!” and “Huh!” and “Poor guy!” because I want to be a supportive friend, but inside I’m thinking: You are a fucking loon”
I also thought that Charlotte and Frankie were quite young characters for everything that seemed to be happening to them – when I was fifteen, you were an incredibly bad dude if you smoked a cigarette, let alone pot. Do fifteen year olds do pot? Sure. But Charlotte and Frankie are this bizarre mixture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll but also incredibly naive. They also aren’t particularly distinct – Charlotte is the first-person narrator of the book whilst Frankie’s chapters are in third person – and if it wasn’t for this difference I probably wouldn’t have managed to keep them apart in my head.
The “main plot element” is based around a road trip to find Charlotte’s Instagram male friend, who she thinks she might fancy. I was torn between thinking this was a weird and cute, but in general the plot was very insubstantial. It was an easy read that was mildly entertaining at points, but as the title dictates, Nothing is literally about nothing.
My thanks to Edelweiss, the publisher and the author for an ARC of Nothing.