Bess’ Book Recs: The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, Michelle Schusterman

I met Lindsay Ribar at MISTI*Con this year. This was her latest book. See if you can figure out why I checked it out from the library:

Purchasable here. Or anywhere, really.

Convention setting? Fan fic author? Band kids? And (since I follow Kristen Arnett’s Twitter) even the taxidermy caught my eye. What a weird collection of things! I can’t wait to see how they go together.

I’d be hard-pressed to pick which of the three protagonists I liked the best. They were all relatable in different ways, although the band kid really touched my heart. I was on colorguard back in the day and could perfectly imagine my friend Charlotte improvising the way Phoebe did. (Pit was hardcore.)

What made me really go o.o at The Pros of Cons is that nothing happened the way I thought it would. The people I thought were bad guys weren’t (mostly) and the things that I thought would backfire or be catastrophic didn’t. It’s not often that a book so completely surprises me over and over again, which is why I heartily recommend it. (Even if I do still have suspicions about Scott.)

The other thing that really got me was how easily the characters admitted they were wrong, accepted other people’s apologies, and considered other people’s perspectives. As someone that is at home pretty much all day, every day, it’s easy to forget that other people’s brains may not work like mine and that something that seems obvious to me may actually have something I failed to consider that completely changes it. The way the authors dealt with interpersonal issues and emotional scenes was extremely cool. I wanted to read it again just to analyze the writing.

The only issue I had with The Pros of Cons was having three perspectives. It’s not a fault with the book, I think, more with my ability to keep them straight. The authors even anticipated me and put the name of the PoV character at the top of each chapter, but until I got a hang of who-was-which I was a little lost.

Like other reviews I’ve seen for this book, I even came away with a new appreciation for taxidermy. (I know! Who’d have thought?) But it’s just another example of how well the authors handle nuance and tricky subjects. I’m not likely to adopt Maggie Wormtail MouseRat (their cover model) but I can appreciate the artistry that went into creating her.

One final thought: don’t read it at bedtime! The Pros of Cons is one of those books that you’ll stay up to read until it’s done.

Were you a band kid or fic writer at high school? What’s your favorite convention? What are your thoughts on taxidermy? Let me know!

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