Anthony Custode Jr.
Andrew’s Journal: A novella by Anthony Custode Jr tells the story of a group of friends as they unravel the mysterious death of their friend Andrew. Told through flashbacks and entries from Andrew’s journal readers start to piece together a story that proves to be deadly for everyone involved.
Filled with twists and turns, Andrew’s Journal tries to keep its reader captivated. There are themes around abuse, young love and suicide that are well-woven into the plot and readers will appreciate the fast pace of the story. Custode’s simple writing style is easy to follow, and the characters are funny, heroic and draw the reader into their tragedies.
However, there are problems with this novella that cannot be overlooked. The inclusion of Andrew’s journal entries do not read realistically, and the reader is unaware which entries are privy to the other characters and which are evident to the reader. This muddies the plot and makes the story predictable from the first few chapters. Another aspect that is problematic is that Custode has aged his characters. The characters, who are supposed to be high school students feel old as do their romantic relationships and their actions and speech. This is also further complicated by in-depth description of sex scenes (that do not always feel necessary), and those of sexual abuse and very little other description throughout the book. The book, while attempting to offer something to the thriller genre, fails in providing a strong enough story to keep readers turning the pages.
Overall, Andrew’s Journal is a simple story that pushes its characters into a world of treachery and lies. There are some real painful themes and readers will sympathize with Megan and her friends. For this novella to be taken seriously, it needs to read more realistically both in its use of journal entries as well as in the depictions of its young characters.
Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.