Technically, You Started It – Lana Wood Johnson

Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Published: June 26th, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Recommended Age: 11+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Friendship, Romance, High School, Humour


When I received this book, I opened it and I got so excited because it’s 100% made of text messages, no descriptive paragraphs or even letters addressed to people. No, just online conversations. Since I had never seen a book like this before, I immediately thought it would be unique and a page-turner.

Page-turner? Not quite. If the conversations had been gripping I would have finished it in less than two hours but I couldn’t connect to what the two characters were discussing in the beginning—it felt like I was intruding on them and their personal lives—but then later on when I finally managed to follow their thoughts I started to feel like Haley and Martin were performing for the reader.

That’s not how teenagers message each other, it really isn’t, that or I was never a real teenager. This author should turn to Kasie West’s books to see what real banter between teenagers looks like. I did get a sense of Haley and Martin’s personalities and so they were real people to me but they still didn’t seem genuine young adults.

It’s not awful, some conversations really are fun but kind of performative sadly. It’s a book that has a great premise and I’m glad the author gave this type of story made of text messages a try because it’s important to stand out in Young Adult literature (I sure don’t like reading the same thing over and over again) but in my opinion she failed to capture what conversations between teenagers really sound like.


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3 thoughts on “Technically, You Started It – Lana Wood Johnson

  1. I’ve never read a book that was made up of only text messages; that sounds like it could be kind of fun (if it was done well) but I also think there would be a strong potential there for it to come off as shallow. I’m sorry this book didn’t work for you, but at least it was a short read! 🙂


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