Book Review: Totally Tubular by Gwen Hayes (Like Totally Charming, Dude)

It’s early days for 2013, but Totally Tubular is my favourite read so far this year. Absolutely adorable.

tottubCarrington is fed up of dealing with her mom’s two bottle of wine a night problem and tendency to play “Careless Whisper a little too much. She’s meant to be the kid in the house, but she feels far older than her 16 years. Carrington heads off to the school dance dressed for the 80s theme in jelly shoes and crimped hair. While looking in the mirror in the bathroom at school, her reflection blinks. She touches the hand reaching for her from the other side of the mirror, and hey presto, she’s back in the eighties and face to face with her sixteen year old mother, Heather. Heather takes Carrington under her wing, and she finds herself living with her grandparents and sharing a bedroom with her mom.

Now Carrington’s a smart girl; she knows she should stay away from her mother. Every time travel movie and book says not to make waves in the past – it’s the surest way to get yourself written out of the future, or history – or whatever, but she can’t help it. She likes her mother at sixteen and they become best friends. Carrington tracks down a few nerds to help her figure out how to get back to her own time. She doesn’t bargain for one of the nerds to be such a hottie. Soon enough, life in 1986 is looking a hell of a lot rosier than what’s waiting for Carrington in 2011.

I loved Carrrington’s voice. She’s full of life, warmth and wry humour. “I was having a déjà vu that went déjà wrong”. The teenage speak was charming, and Carrington’s narration made Totally Tubular a simple but gorgeous read. She has a personality I adore: funny, a tad sarcastic and down to earth. She’s also a good person and a responsible teenager. Carrington’s a bit jaded with the world, as she herself readily admits. I warmed to her immediately and dare any reader not to.

When she arrives in the past she’s wearing casual 80s fashion thanks to the school decades dance. I cracked up when she thinks to herself, “thank God I didn’t wear a cone bra like Madonna – just saying”. We have references to Sixteen Candles and Molly Ringwald. She goes to see Top Gun on the big screen but can’t get the image of Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch out of her mind. If you’re an 80s baby like me, or you grew up in that decade and went through high school with Cyndi Lauper as your life soundtrack, read this for a bit of nostalgia.

The other characters are as real as Carrington. Nate, her love interest, isn’t the typical teen heartthrob. He loves comic books, is a bit of a nerd (a cool one of course), and he and Carrington totally click. The other geeks, Paul and Kevin, had me skitting laughing with their banter about girls, Star Trek, aliens, science and computers (just imagine the lads from The Big Bang Theory as teenagers). Carrington having to give her own mother a lesson on STDs and birth control was stomach clutching funny.

It’s my favourite book of the year so far. Totally Tubular is a very fast read. It’s fun, the most fun book I’ve read in ages. I didn’t quite understand the ending, but it was a happy one. Anyway, I loved this book, and I don’t say that very often. Grab it, go on, like right now. 🙂 *****

Check it out here on Amazon

Does this sound like fun to you? Any 80s lovers in the house?


About Emma

Buffy fan, avid reader, writer.
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13 Responses to Book Review: Totally Tubular by Gwen Hayes (Like Totally Charming, Dude)

  1. Indiewritersreview says:

    I grew up in the 80’s so I really would love to try this one! Thanks, an awesome review:)

  2. My sons were born in the 80’s. Does that count? LOL.

    I was feeling iffy about the book, although it sounded pretty cool, but when I saw “nerds” and “Star Trek”, that hooked me. 🙂

  3. Sounds like my teenage years. I’m pretty sure I went to a school dance with a girl from the future, or maybe I’m confusing my past with a movie (that happens some times, I’m easily confused). But back to the topic of the book, sounds cute, and I do love the 80’s. Might have to pick this one up becuase my TBR pile is strangely under 25 books now.

    • Emma says:

      Under 25? That’s really good. Mine just gets longer and longer. I’m not certain this book would hold the same appeal for a guy, but you never know. You sure you’re not thinking of Back to the Future when it comes to that mystery girl? 🙂

  4. Kecia Adams says:

    I’m an 80s girl! 🙂 Sounds like a book I should take a look at and pass on to my daughter. Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Mae Clair says:

    This sounds like a blast. I so remember the 80s….neon jellie bracelets, big hand bands, leg warmers, LOL. This book sounds like a blast. I definitely need to read it. Thanks for the heads up, Emma!

    • Emma says:

      It was a blast. I smiled so much reading it. I really wanted there to be another story after it. *sob*. I’ll be reading more of Gwen’s books now.
      I never had the pleasure of wearing leg warmers. Next 80s them party, I’ll have to don them 🙂

  6. Shannon says:

    And I was just this weekend taking a trip down ’80s memory lane because I was watching The Carrie Diaries. I will definitely check this book out. Thanks for the review!

    • Emma says:

      I read Tiffany White’s review of The Carrie Diaries over at her blog a couple of days ago. I’m definitely going to be tuning in for it. I adore the 80s.
      Hope you like Totally Tubular, Shannon.

  7. Pingback: What I’ve Been Reading: Zombies and the usual suspects | Emma's Ramblings on Supernatural Fiction

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