Warnings: Sex, Discussions of Sex
Drama nerds rejoice for the year of fuck it! Smash It! is all about a shy girl that decides to take a page out of Shonda Rimes “year of yes” to start overcoming her shyness. Liv feels that she has always been on the sidelines next to her two rockstar friends, Eli and Dré. She is hopelessly in love with Eli and fears taking the leap, feeling that she’s the uncool girl that nobody notices.
But owning oneself is not as easy as it sounds, and everything becomes more complicated when other people and feelings are involved. I loved the main characters and found each one to be well-developed with distinctive personalities and character flaws. Eli, Dré, and Kai are all swoon-worthy love interests and I felt conflicted about who to root for, they were all great. The complex love triangles made sense and my heart ached for each one. I also adored Lennox and Jackie and was so happy that there were good female friendships where girls actually support each other.
“Good judgment comes from a string of fuckups.”
The book has a lot to say about some big themes like body and sex-positivity, single parenthood, race, and personal identity. Liv is often extremely selfish, centering every event on herself and taking things so personally. She is wrapped up in what other people think of her and she has a tendency to assume the worst. Though I didn’t like how Liv and other characters dragged on adults for having issues or not “getting it” I had to chuckle at how true this attitude was for teenagers. Liv is flawed but she is also very true to life as the late teen years are filled with angst and a search for self. I took some issue that Liv doesn’t start putting herself together until her almost non-existent sister shows up and tells her what to do.
As an Othello re-telling, I could see the links with each of the major events and thought this was a fun tie to the play. However, there is a lot of criticism about Shakespeare that I thought was an odd choice. Liv keeps comparing her life to Othello and then goes on to say that “some old white dude isn’t writing the script of my life” yet everything kept coming back to the play, but maybe it’s just me. Despite this, Smash It! was a laugh-out-loud funny in-your-face rom-com that I enjoyed.