“Definitions of Indefinable Things” by Whitney Taylor
HMH Books for Young Readers, 336 pages, $17.99, April 2017, Goodreads
Whitney Taylor’s debut novel is pure, raw, hilarious and sometimes unsettling, which makes it a superb read! Reggie is depressed, and one night, while waiting in line at the pharmacy to get her meds she meets Snake, who is also depressed, but it’s more complicated than that. Snake’s girlfriend is pregnant, and she just so happens to be the queen bee of Reggie’s school.
This story takes a look at not only issues that teenagers deal with on a day to day basis, but also issues like mental health, teen pregnancy, complicated relationships and the temporariness of life. Reggie is the best kind of unreliable narrator because throughout the novel she realizes that she doesn’t have all the answers. I think this makes her relatable to a lot of young adults (even me and I’m 25) because it’s okay to not have all the answers and it’s okay to just deal with things as they come along, but you can’t try to block everything out because that’s not living.
One of the things I really liked about this book was the dynamic characters. The three main characters – Reggie, Snake and Carla – are all very likeable, but also their interactions with each other are entertaining, honest and beautiful. There doesn’t seem to be a character in this book that doesn’t change for the better, and it’s a great positive message. The dialogue Taylor uses is phenomenal and adds to the pacing of the story, which is such a great speed. I didn’t get left behind and I didn’t feel like I wanted to move ahead.
What I would have really liked to see was a bit of a more complete ending. Maybe I’m just the type of person who isn’t satisfied with semi-open endings, and that’s definitely what you get at the end of this novel. But I will say that the mood of the ending fits the story, and it leaves you in a better place.
I would definitely recommend “Definitions of Indefinable Things” for your summer reading list. It’s the perfect book to take to the beach or the pool. It will definitely define your summer.
Whitney Taylor is available on Goodreads.