Book Review: Thwonk

January 22, 2011

I was hiding behind a fake marble pillar. I was hiding because if he knew I’d been secretly photographing him for all these months he would think I was immature, neurotic, and obsessive.

I’m not.

I’m an artist.

Artists are always misunderstood.


I didn’t intend to read another book about a Cupid when I picked up Thwonk by Joan Bauer. I just wanted to read something fun and uplifting and since Hope Was Here is one of those books that manages to be serious and lighthearted (and awesome), I figured Bauer was the way to go.

Thwonk is about a girl (A.J.) who finds a Cupid and is able to have him grant her one wish: that popular,  handsome Peter Terris falls in love with her.

This story is really a character study, and the book lives and dies with A.J. McCreary. She is a forceful character, a whirlwind of emotion, and the pinnacle of passion. A.J.’s passion is photography, and that passion shapes everything she does within the story. The conflict comes from her intense interest in beautiful objects–specifically, Peter Terris–and her desire to elevate her photography to the next level.

– I really liked that A.J.’s passion for photography informed so much of her character. Part of her obsession with Peter is that he’s beautiful, and she loves photographing him. He becomes an object for her, and all she knows about him is how beautiful he is. She falls in love with him as an object, not as a person, so when she desires him to love her back, she doesn’t really know what she’s getting herself into.

– The cupid (Jonathan) exists to teach A.J. a lesson. But the best part of his role is that he exposes all of A.J.’s crazy. She spends several scenes arguing with Jonathan–and no one else can see him. Do I need to mention that most of these arguments happen in front of other people? So he’s able to hit on those areas of her personality that draws out intense reactions. He doesn’t say or do much, really, but he operates as a great foil for A.J.

– A.J. also has an awesome best friend.

– The only thing I didn’t like is that A.J. is such a drama queen. She FEELS things SO DEEPLY. Probably why she is a great artist. I didn’t dislike it in the sense that I hated her, but I disliked it in the sense that…she’s a drama queen. I don’t know. It’s part of her personality but it just amps up her ridiculousness, which is part of what makes the story work. I don’t know. She’s just a nut.

In conclusion: A.J. is a nut. And that’s what makes the story work. I found myself reading it and marveling at just how intense she is. The lesson at the end is great, and the passion makes A.J.’s story believable. I found that the photography grounds the story and tempers A.J.’s over the top personality.

Support Your Local Library: 3/30; YA Reading Challenge: 3/20

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  1. Erica

    This book is really interesting…. I like how A.J. is occupied by art, but there’s a handsome hunk in her school that has her eye…. and POOF! The cupid shows up!

    • Akilah

      You know what else I like that I just thought of? That it’s not about some other boy she should be paying attention to instead. Normally, there would be the Boy She Should Like as well, and Bauer doesn’t do that here.


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