Re-book : Underground

hey! i felt like doing a new type of post on this blog, since i picked up this unique novel a week ago (whilst borrowing an advanced math book from the school library)

and the book is +/- 500 pages full in english, i might as well do the review in that said language.


first impression : “wow this looks fun”, i was shocked by how thick that book was and how it was entirely in english. the first few pages were skippable and by that i mean it made no sense and was just an introduction of the main characters and “underground” itself. (i still don’t get what touch football is, but i guess no one does). skip skippidy skip and i found myself at page 60 and above, that was where the novel finally began. it was really tiring to stick ’til the end because not much happened. the plot was plain bland and i really hoped for some seasoning but i only got it at liv and stefan’s parts, the sidestories weren’t much fun at all.

last impression : “wow im so done” both in positive and negative context. i’m lame at writing reviews (and not like everyone else with their fancy shmancy english but at least i can write how i feel about the book, and i hope you readers enjoy my review and consider reading this) (note : i suggest you borrow from your local library, because this isn’t exactly cheap and it’s probably not worth the price either.)
positively, i was born in the 00’s and tbh i love vintage and old stuff. and this, well i felt like i fell into their world and lived in the 80’s – 90’s myself. it created a brand new image for me where people still used fax machines and cellphones that were only used to call and SMS, and now i use my phone for everything. the many song references were quite interesting although after searching the songs i was disappointed (maybe because i don’t enjoy old music as much, and that was the 80’s!) (but the songs were mainly too old-fashioned and boring) (i still respect the songs though..)
the negative side…….it was tiring. that’s it. i’ll explain more down there.

thoughts on the book : (i honestly wanted tere liye’s bumi-bulan-matahari trilogy but the 1st book wasn’t there so… yeah). i challenged myself to finish this book in a week but i only effectively read in 3 days/7 days (well good then, but i did that cause i sped up and didn’t pay much attention to the storyline and character progression)

contents : (spoiler alert)
there is a famous VJ called liv hunter who has recently been chosen for the 50 most beautiful women award. she is best friends with stefan, who is also a VJ with her in their famous show called “The Apartment”. they both have their own boyfriend and girlfriend respectively. the book talks mainly about the couple and the world around them, like what happens in the “underground” office (them taping or shooting live, etc) and the problems of their workmates.

+ i loooove how it’s in english (and the writer is indonesian wow i honestly thought she was a native english speaker)
+ the cover is very minimalist, i love the choice of colour (grey + red + blue) (although i’d rather have the original cover which is monochrome)
+ liv and stefan’s romance storyline had great progression from being best friends to complete lovers then “cooling down” but eventually marrying (ugh i love) and basically portayed like most romantic novels, which makes me as a romance lover really pleased (cos i have no interest in finding difficult-to-understand romance books)
+ the many characters of this novel bulit up curiosity for each chapter that i read because there were many new problems, like taking drugs, an unexpected pregnancy (and i’m glad that heather turned out to be not pregnant), especially love conflicts between the two main characters. (like how liv was with mark and stefan was with alisha but it never worked out so they got together but rene “liv’s ex” suddenly showed up and stefan was pissed YES my baby’s jealous!!)
+ i learnt a lot about american culture (mostly about the rich cause the setting was in new york)

– too many characters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 😦 because of that, i got confused with the plot and so many random charas popping up in a chapter. i only remember the main charas like liv, stefan, mark, heather, shareef, aaliyah, gavin, alisha, dean, jared, rene, claire, michä (i actually had to google this letter to type his name) (and i never knew that was a boy’s name). a few others are sarah, will, chrissy, cristal(?) (she was only mentioned twice), bono, steve, and the other underground crew
– unreasonable usage of swear words, at completely random times HAHAHAH i ended up being shocked but some still made sense at that context so i accepted it
– the novel mentioned pooping a lot (not that i specifically hate that but i find it funny lol what’s with them and pooping????)  (i found it gross but still laughed anyway HAHAH)
– i’m not a total grammar nazi but there were more than 15 mistakes in that +/- 500 page book, and i accept that because writing a novel as thick as that is already time-consuming so little mistakes are totally acceptable, also ika wrote that piece in her teenage years so she decided to publish it just like that, without revising much which i respect…so her loyal ehm “loyal” readers can see her old drafts and love her more for her past mistakes and progress in writing. that’s something that people should realize, (cause from what i’ve seen, ika’s regular readers were unpleased with this nonsense of a book) not just commenting on how stupid the plot is and how there’s many typos. like they could write better????? smh.
– soooooo many american references, i didn’t have time to search them up except most of the songs that the author listed. since i lived in england (and well i did have a few influences from america anyway), i did understand a few of those songs. i don’t know what eras they were from but i’m guessing they’re ranged from the 80’s – 90’s (because i know a few songs like ronan keating’s when you say nothing at all and the corrs). the setting was in new york and like what the book stated, new yorkers are all about work-money-work. you can see in the novel that liv shops a lot, including big brands such as tag heuer, gucci, miu miu, l.l. bean. she usually shops at macy’s, berkenshire, etc.
– i actually read a few reviews on goodreads and many of them only gave 2 stars because the plot was still raw (since ika wrote it when she was still 19), not to mention the many metonymy that appeared (and i had no clue about most of the brands because i don’t buy fancy ass clothes like that), and the weird POVs that changed from time to time (it wasn’t consistently liv’s POV but somehow other charas had their share. and for me who hardly reads english novels, i still understood well despite the many typos and i can’t really critique as harsh as everyone else. (now that i’m still 16, i hope i finish my book quick!)

and so.. i finally give it a 6/10. (not trying to be so generous for my first review but i sincerly love this novel)

that’s all for my review! stay tuned for the re-book ep 2! (i’ll hopefully read tere liye or maybe ika natassa again..)


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