Allison's Book Bag

My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-Corrie

Posted on: October 5, 2013

My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-Corrie is part fantasy, part romance, and part middle-school humor. At times, one or more of these parts doesn’t work. Other times, they blend together to create an entertaining spoof of the paranormal genre.

Jenna and her peers have a lot of general knowledge about the paranormal. They’re aware of the current trends in novels and movies, knowing which fantastical creatures are passé and which are vogue. Yet despite their fascination, it really only amounts to lunchroom chatter. They don’t really believe in the supernatural, and so when a few of them actually see mystical stuff unfold before their eyes they’re both skeptical and impressed. For a novel that’s supposed to be a spoof on the genre, My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush at times seems more realistic than do the more serious books of the genre. I appreciated this mixed approach to the book’s supernatural element. I also enjoyed how Toffler-Corrie harkened back to older clichés of the genre, using cloudy skies and cawing crows to create an eerie mood. Finally, even though the ending made me feel as if in the middle of a Scooby Doo cartoon, it was also hysterical and again oddly realistic because of all the so-called “weapons” employed during the frantic battle, which even included a bar of soap.

At the same time, there were moments when I questioned the handling of the supernatural element. Why are only two boys brought back as angels? There’s a hokey explanation about a rift in the universe, but then why don’t more supernatural beings take advantage of it? Moreover, why are both angels not only handsome hunks, but fit their stereotypes of the good guy being blonde-haired with blue eyes and the bad guy being dark-haired with a scowl? Yes, I get that My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush is a spoof, which means it’s going to be replete with clichés. But couldn’t Toffler-Corrie have turned the cliché of the handsome muscular blonde on its head the way she did the final battle? Or couldn’t she have exaggerated the cliché beyond realistic belief? Whatever the proper handling should have been, the clichés should be more than, well, simply clichés.

Now that I’ve mentioned the handsome muscular blonde who also happens to be an angel, let’s talk about the romance. Just like the supernatural element, the romantic element is slow-brewed and therefore feels real. Jenna develops a crush on new boy Luke. He acknowledges her existence. They encounter each other and conversations start. Jenna wonders if he likes her. Luke gives hints that he does. The romance is portrayed realistically up to a point. What are some of my complaints? Throughout the course of the novel, it becomes clear that Jenna is out of shape and perhaps a little overweight. In other words, she’s not pretty or popular. Why then does Luke pick Jenna as his girl? Apparently, because she’s nice — and, of course, because she’s the main character. Girls, how many of you really had that happen to you in school? Guys, how many of you really prefer nice girls over pretty girls? Oh, and there’s also the token bitch, who tries to steal Jenna’s boyfriend. Enough said.

I have one last criticism: the middle-school humor. To be blunt, I found it crass. Yes, I know that sexual innuendo is no stranger among middle schoolers. And yes, I know that teen movies abound with them. But I found it a bit much. There was crotch-grabbing, farting, pee jokes, and more. Individually, these are tolerable. Put together, I found it too much.

That said, I’ll admit the crudity may add to the realism of the characters. And a huge strength for Toffler-Corrie is her character development. Jenna is believable as a normal middle-school kid. She likes boys, clothes, movies, music, and talking on the phone. She earns money by babysitting, and often complains about the job, but deep inside she cares about the kid in her care. Something else I appreciated is that Jenna is apparently overweight, but Toffler-Corrie didn’t make her a cliché or a cause of the week. The rest of the huge cast also feels real, except perhaps the bitch, because of the details Toffler-Corrie so carefully develops. For instance, Jenna’s parents dislike brand names, preferring instead to buy generic — in bulk. They’re also into communism. These details make them memorable.

My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush is an entertaining spoof on the supernatural genre that mostly works. It might even have you wishing to meet your own handsome muscular blonde who also happens to be an angel.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

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