The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting by Holly Bourne - Review Book

The protagonist in The Manifesto on How to be Interesting is a teenage girl named Bree, a wealthy but unpopular girl with a love of stripy tights, one friend and a lack of interest in things other than books and writing. A wannabe author, Bree’s second novel has just been rejected by another publisher when she decides to become popular, and her online blog is born. On her blog she writes her manifesto on how to be interesting, which includes six rules sure to make the popular crowd notice her and it quickly becomes a place where Bree can document her journey to popularity free of judgement.

Holly Bourne gets what high school can be like. The Manifesto on How to be Interesting is the most realistic portrayal of British school life I have ever read. Everything on the pages seemed so amazingly realistic, from the cliques to the friendships and, as a result, was relatable.

 The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting  by Holly Bourne

 The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting  by Holly Bourne

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Bree as a character was also completely engaging and I read the book in one sitting. She was incredibly flawed and not always likeable, in fact, most of the time I did not like her. Some of the decisions she made just made her seem horrible but at other times I felt truly sorry for her. Her obsession with popularity and of course during the times she was self harming I just wanted to help her. So although I didn’t necessarily always like her, I could definitely empathise with her.

As you get to know Bree you also get to know her friends, old and new. As her appearance and social status at school changes her relationships also evolve. She ditches her pretentious, geeky friend Holdo for Jassmine, a pretty, popular girl with a self obsessed entourage. Bree infiltrates the popular group, and gradually, in true ‘Mean Girls’ style, begins to lose the person she was before.

 The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne – review

 The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne – review

Bourne covered many typical teen issues in this book, such as bullying, self harming and what it’s like to be lonely. All of these things have been written about countless times in YA but I don’t think I’ve read a book that has made them seem so real before. Bree also didn’t always deal with her issues in the ‘right way’, she didn’t always talk to an adult or her friends like teens are always told to do. Many teens don’t tell people about their problems, so some of Bree’s decisions (however wrong they may be) helped her become even more relatable and realistic.

The book also involved a student/teacher relationship which is something I had never personally read about in fiction before this book. It was awkward to read and was at times infuriating as the character was doing nothing to stop it. However, overall the situation with her teacher really developed Bree as a character as she became more independent and stood up for herself.

I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who has ever felt like an outcast, or that they do not belong. Although Bree may not realise it, this book proves that there is definitely more to life than being popular.

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