Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review of Sykosa, by Justin Ordonez

Sykosa is not my kind of book, and Sykosa, the main character, is not my kind of girl. I got sucked in by the title, however, and I'm really glad I went along for that strange, dreamy ride.

Sykosa the character is an Asian-American young woman. She thinks about Prom, about her boyfriend Tom, about Niko (who is Niko3.0 - the new version) her friend.

She doesn't think about what happened to her the year before. It was traumatic, we know that much, and anything that brings her close to remembering it makes her nearly pass out. Ordonez says that we don't know what it is because the characters don't know what happened either.

No, she is not my kind of girl, but it feels fantastic to climb inside the skin of girl who is so different from me. And that is what Ordonez has provided - a sealskin, a different mentality to inhabit during the course of a book that slips and slides and treats the reader to a ride that unfolds like origami.

Each aspect of the book: Prom, the event, Niko3.0, and Sykosa herself, is presented and represented so we get to see them again and again. And yet we never know what they are. The girls, Niko and Sykosa, go shoplifting, they talk about boyfriends and sex, they go to a party - but are they even friends? Niko is now Niko3.0. "And doing this stuff to the Bitches is what Sykosa and Niko did together pre-Tom. They were best friends and they stuck to the group and everything was perfect."

So something has changed, or is in the middle of change, but we can't put our fingers on what it is. Heck, the characters themselves can't say what it is.

Ordonez switches seamlessly between poetic writing and the quasi-sexual obsessions of high-school girls. "The Blackness may not have her today, but she can't deny her Prom dream has affected her." It's as though while creating this character, this girl-suit for us to wear, Ordonez himself has crawled right into the high-school girl psyche to explore it.

Tom himself is a perfect example of the duplicitous nature of the book. He is Sykosa's boyfriend. He is a straightforward young male - he wants sex. Yet, is he her boyfriend? He doesn't talk to her the way he does with Mackenzie, the girl who is his friend. And will he really ask her to Prom? He's a mystery to his own girlfriend.

If you are a bit weary of the stream of self-published 50 Shades wannabe books and are looking for something completely different, I highly recommend Sykosa. Be aware that it is for those who are 18 and older, as the book discusses sex and sexual topics in frank, uncensored language. However, the language and the sex make sense within the theme of the story; therefore, I really enjoyed it, since it wasn't sex for shock value or for titillation.

Did I mention this book costs less than one dollar? All this talent and originality, and it is only 99 cents. Really. You can buy it at the link on the left, or by clicking here.


LibraryGirl said...

Wow, this is a great review. I'd heard the title for this before but didn't really know much about it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Justin Ordonez said...

Just caught this review! Thanks for the kind words and support!

Alison DeLuca said...

It was my pleasure to review such a great book by a wonderful talent!

Veronika said...

Awesome review! The title is really unique, it caught my attention the first time I saw it.
verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com