Finding Harry Styles - G.B. Hope
I received Finding Harry Styles for review, and I requested it on NetGalley because the title drew me in with it's fun nature. I expected this book to be a fan fiction about finding Harry Styles in New York City. Instead, I got a post-apocalyptic novel in which there is a worldwide blackout. Harry Styles plays no role in the book whatsoever, except that a few characters are One Direction fans. Don't be fooled by the title.

My main concerns with this novel are with the chauvinistic undertones. Women are treated extremely poorly throughout the entirety of the book, and are portrayed as weak, submissive creatures who must be protected and controlled by the men at all times. This really disturbed me, and I honestly couldn't believe that women were written in this manner.

To illustrate my point, I would like to share a few scenes in the book that really stuck out to me. In one scene, a murder has just taken place, and a female character is crying. The man she's with doesn't approve of this behavior, so he slaps her across the face to shut her up. This unnecessary violence and abuse really shocked me.

In the same way, the author writes a scene in which a man kisses a woman without her permission, then tells her she can slap him if she wishes because he knew it was wrong. She slaps him, and as the chapter closes, readers learn that the man let the woman slap him because he knew she would not be strong enough to cause him any pain.

This chauvinistic writing is not appropriate, and I could not believe how present it was throughout the book. Similarly, the author does not talk highly of race or diversity, and even includes a racial slur in the book. Again, I was shocked and upset with this choice of writing.

The last reason I felt truly compelled to give this book a one star rating was the treatment of suicide. In Finding Harry Styles, characters begin killing themselves after just a few days of the power being out. This continued every so often throughout the novel, and it was upsetting that the author chose to include these deaths in the story. Suicide is a very serious issue, and when young people in the book are killing themselves just because they can't use their cell phones anymore, that marginalizes an issue that should instead be talked about in a respectful manner. Thus, with the poor treatment of women, race, and suicide, I have no choice but to give this book the lowest rating. I cannot recommend this book to anyone because of this content.

Moreover, even if I put all of those issues aside, I would still rate Finding Harry Styles with a low star count due to the writing style. This novel is replete with characters, and the point of view changes often to follow these different characters. I found it extremely difficult to differentiate between characters, especially because new characters were introduced in nearly every chapter, but then dropped off shortly thereafter. If the author wished to include so many characters in Finding Harry Styles, it would have been helpful to label each chapter with a character name so the reader can distinguish between them easier.

In addition, the pacing of the novel was very slow and unbalanced. At the beginning of the book, the characters switched up quite regularly, but later in the novel we focus on certain characters for a long period of time. When the writing switches back to other characters, it was disorienting because it had been so long since we heard of them last. In the same way, there was no clear goal for the characters in this book. I spent the novel wondering what was going to happen, because it seemed the characters were just wandering around the East Coast trying to stay alive. As the book ended, I felt there was no point to the story whatsoever, and I just witnessed a lot of violence for no reason. Of course, no reader wants to feel this way.

Finally, the writing overall was not executed well. There was a lot of telling, and not a lot of showing, so I never had a clear vision of the characters or setting. I would have preferred less straightforward writing, as it detracted from the reading experience when I was told flat-out every action. The author also mis-quotes a very popular movie, which did not affect the plot at all, but definitely detracted from the author's credibility. In the same way, the author includes a scene in which a character is an author, and speaks very poorly of people who leave her one star reviews. It's almost as if this author is now challenging the reader to give him a bad review. I found that extremely unprofessional.

In the end, I am glad I completed Finding Harry Styles so I could share my thoughts on this novel and warn others of its contents. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book to anyone, and I would not pick up any other works from this author in the future