If Albert Kim has learned one thing in his tragic adolescence, it's that God (probably a sadistic teenaged alien) does not want him to succeed at Bern High. By the end of sophomore year, Al is so tired of humiliation that he's chosen to just forget girls and high school society in general, and enjoy the Zen-like detachment that comes from being an intentional loser.
Then he meets Mia Stone, and all the repressed hormones come flooding back. Mia, his co-worker at the Bern Inn, is adorable, popular, and most intimidatingly, the ex- long-term girlfriend of Ivy-bound, muscle-bound king of BHS and world class jerk, Ryan Stackhouse. But -- chalk it up to the magic of Al's inner beauty -- by the end of a summer vacuuming hotel rooms and goofing off together, he and Mia are officially "something."
Albert barely has time to ponder this miracle before the bomb drops: Ryan has been diagnosed with cancer, and he needs Mia's support, i.e. constant companionship. True, he's lost weight and he's getting radiation, but that doesn't make him any less of a jerk. And to Albert, it couldn't be more apparent that Ryan is using his cancer to steal Mia back. With the whole town rallying behind Ryan like he's a fallen hero, and Mia emotionally confused and worried for Ryan, Al's bid for love is not a popular campaign. In fact, it's exactly like driving the wrong way on a five-lane highway.
In this desperately funny novel, David Yoo tells an authentic story of first love, and therein captures the agony, the mania, the kicking and screaming that define teenage existence.
First off, I love that David’s Asian- Korean to be exact. Being Asian also, I can relate. He jokes about his parents and a lot of his nerdiness he blames on being Asian. He reminds me of Patti in Good Enough by Paula Yoo. They’re both Korean, hilarious, and with parents who care mostly about grades.
Albert is one crazy character. At the beginning, he was really awkward- so awkward I’d physically wince when he opened his mouth to speak. But when he was with Mia, he became really cute and sweet and happy, if a lot desperate. Then he went psycho/desperate. And at the end he went back to being happy/sweet/cute. The changes were just a bit too much for me. Overall, Albert is a great character- hilarious, different, awkward, outrageous, spontaneous, and lovable. He’s also really strange and kind of out there; so much so that I actually got a little frightened of him. Still, he’s the epitome of the underdog nerd.
Mia, the girl Albert falls for is very well rounded, as a character and as a person. She’s sweet but she also was a little annoying to me. She tries her hardest to please though.
The supporting characters were great. Brett, a senior who becomes friends with Albert, is by far my favourite character. He’s quirky and lovable like Albert, but without the psycho-craziness. I never really knew what to make out of Ryan Stackhouse.
However, I thought the ending was awfully rushed and quick. The book is going one way, and in the last few pages, it changes course. It’s a good ending and I was happy, but it was a little quick and the revelation at the end left me a little stunned.
Overall, Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before is absolutely hilarious to read with an interesting and unique plot. Prepare to sigh, gasp, laugh and cringe throughout at Albert’s antics.