Dante thinks high school is an earthly version of hell. She hates her new home in the suburbs, her best friend has moved away, her homeroom teacher mocks her and her mother is making her attend a social skills group for teenage girls. When a stranger shows up at school and hands Dante a flyer that reads: Woof, woof. You are not a dog. Why are you going to obedience school?, Dante thinks she’s found a soul mate. Someone who understands. Someone else who wants to make real changes in the world. But there are all kinds of ways of bringing about change…and some are more dangerous than others. - Inferno jacket copy from Robin Stevenson's website.
So this book came up when I was on a search for LGBT YA literature on Amazon to round out an order so I could get free shipping (I'm thrifty and it's books). So I bought it and it arrived and I read it.
It's kind of like a sub-par lesbian version of Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Only instead of music, Dante is into running.
So Dante is this sixteen-year-old girl, and a huge part of the plot is that she's just changed her name from Emily to Dante, because she's super obsessed with Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy. I mean, so of course her parents let her change her name to something totally ridiculous that she's only gotten into the year before!
I'm sure you can see where I have a problem with this premise, yes?
Anyway, there's all this fuss about how her name was Emily last school year and now it's Dante and nobody wants to call her Dante and seriously, this book would have been SO much better if she'd been a transman. I am not even kidding you, because the whole book sort of feels like maybe Dante as a character wants to transition, but the author didn't go there with it because she was too chicken to follow through with what she started.
Seriously. But maybe that's just me.
So she meets this chick Parker, she falls omg head over heels in love with her. Because that's what you do in high school, gay or straight. But see there's no actual conflict in the book unless Dante falls for Parker, because everything Dante does after that point is to make Parker like her. Even though Parker is straight.
As a sidenote, I recently read Julie Anne Peters's Far From Xanadu which had basically the same premise. And the same fucking fruitless ending.
SPOILER: Dante doesn't get the girl. Because Parker is straight. Also she has battered spouse syndrome. /SPOILER
Anyway, so there's some pathetic high school prankage anarchy and blah blah wow, this book really did not go anywhere.
It's not badly written, to tell the truth. But I found myself rooting for Dante to realize she was just bisexual and hook up with Leo because unlike with Parker, they actually had chemistry/made sense. But oh no, they're both in love with Parker.
Yeah, uh. If you're really bored and borrowing it from a friend or the library, you might read this book. Don't spend your money on it, though, 'cause it's not worth it. Pick up Peters's Xanadu instead, because it's got a better plot.