Joe's twin brother, Alvin, disappeared. And with him went Joe's tenuous grip on real life. The rest of it: the road trip, the maybe-murder, the burned-down house--all of that came later.
At eighteen, Joe is stuck in limbo. Directionless and simple, he blows through his inheritance playing poker and eats only cheeseburgers, pizza, and guacamole. Then his twin brother, Alvin, disappears--and Julia, Alvin's tempestuous girlfriend, takes Joe on a whirlwind road trip from L.A. to Tennessee. There, he's thrust into the dysfunctional dynamic of her wealthy family. For the first time, Joe has a job. He has a suit he wears every day. And he's in love with a crazy, beautiful girl who only talks honestly in her sleep. Joe's so blinded by his seductive new life that he almost misses the truth about what happened to his twin...
Maybe Joe can't grow up--but he can love. (from GoodReads)
I did not like This One Time With Julia at all. My expectations were already pretty low but I still would not recommend this to anyone.
My biggest problem was that the book was weird. I hate using that word because normal is so relative and almost meaningless. But I am telling you, This One Time With Julia was very strange. Joe is like a little kid, even though he's eighteen. He has some developmental and learning disabilities that were never addressed when he was younger, so now he can barely function in society. He can't read, he can't think critically, and doesn't really have any life skills. It's super unfortunate and I did sympathize with Joe. He was a sweet guy and the only geniune character. I didn't mind reading from his point-of-view, but the reader never learns anything because he is unobservant.
The other characters were also very strange: from Joe's twin brother to his older brother to new gilfriend Julia. None of them were developed properly so they didn't feel real. I honestly didn't care about any of characters, except maybe Joe.
Because all the characters are so weird and caractiture-like, the plot is also weird. It sounds like it's supposed to be a mystery, but a ghost/hallucination tells Joe the truth about Alvin's disappearance. So there isn't really much for Joe to discover. There is also no conclusion to this story: the chapter ends and that's it. Nothing is wrapped up and it's almost as if the author forgot to add some pages. And when I shut the book, I had no idea what the point of the story was. There was no moral or purpose (that I could ascertain, at least) for writing this book. I'm just very perplexed.
Honestly, I did not care for This One Time With Julia at all. Please don't waste your time reading this novel.
Rating: 3 out of 10.
FTC: from Flamingnet Book Reviews