Saturday, April 22, 2023

Review: POP KIDS by Davey Havok


Rating: 0.25/5 stars

DNF at 13%. 

I remember walking into Barnes and Noble on this book’s release day over ten years ago and seeing a stepladder display at the front of the store entirely filled with copies of Pop Kids. Drawn to the eye-catching hot pink cover, I excitedly grabbed myself a copy and checked out. Then I proceeded to put this book on my shelf and not touch it for a decade. 

I have been a fan of AFI since middle school, and the band’s vocalist is the author of this book, which is the sole reason I wanted to read it. I enjoy a lot of the lyrics he has written for his songs, so I figured some of that writing skill would transfer to his novel.

I was wrong. 

I think the main reason this book sat unread for so long is that the synopsis never sounded interesting to me. A bunch of teens doing unrelatable but stereotypical teenage things like having sex, stealing the car, skipping school, having sex, doing drugs, having big opinions, and did I mention having sex? The short amount of this book I read was truly repulsive and so over-the-top vulgar and sexual that I just could not continue. Included in that is the very uncomfortably misogynistic way he writes about females, as if they are made of only boobs and genitals and have no personality or depth. 

This book is a big disappointment for sure, and not just because of the subject matter. Davey’s writing in his novel is not at all reminiscent of his profound lyrics I’m used to hearing, and I have a hard time believing the same person who wrote this book also wrote the band’s songs that I love. 

My other major problem with this book is the highly apparent and egregious lack of any kind of editing whatsoever. If you are in a world-famous band and can afford to pay for your (self-published) book to be on a full stepladder display at the front of the biggest bookstore in the country, you can afford to hire an editor. It wasn’t just punctuation or formatting issues—of which there were many—but there were misspellings aplenty, word choice issues, redundant scenes and sentences, and many other problems on every single page that made focusing on the actual content of the story quite difficult (especially for an editor like myself who has a keen eye for the small details). Plus the many pop culture references felt very dated and have not aged well, adding a layer of cringe to my already poor reading experience.

This review is probably the harshest I’ve ever written, but Davey Havok will never see it, and honestly it’s in good company (unfortunately). I would not recommend this book at all and truly wish I could just forget everything I read of it. I’ve always been 100% honest in my reviews so I hate to say that, but it’s the truth. The only positive thing I can say about Pop Kids is that I genuinely like the cover. But that is sadly it, my friends. 

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