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  • Writer's picturecharlottelzang

Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend

books, reviews, book review, two star review

I’ve attached the quick review I put on Goodreads below so you can skip down to that if you don’t like the harsh words I’m about to share here. I avoid many of the really harsh reviews written by others myself, so if you just want a polite summary, skip on down.

I’ve thought about this book more and more since finishing it and wonder how it actually got published. Apparently it was denied by 18 or so publishers before it finally got picked up. But still, the fact that a professional publishing house picked this book up, makes me question if they actually read it. The book has no plot! It’s just a weaving of words with no intention, or story, or depth. It makes me wonder about the book and the publishing world as a whole. So, I started to do some research and I discovered that Alan Cumyn was struck by the beauty of a blue heron one day whilst riding a train. In this, he wondered what it would be like if the bird could get up-and-about like humans and take a holiday in the city. He scribbled down some notes on this and then got stuck. Next thing you know, he’s at a seminar and hears the comment by Libba Bray “Don’t go writing your hot pterodactyl boyfriend novel.”

She was making a comment on not following trends, or rather, not giving into them like some slave to pop culture. And apparently she repeated this phrase a handful of times. So, this sparked in him some heart-stopping moment to go on with writing about the blue heron. Except now, he was turning it into a pterodactyl. Somewhere in the articles I read, Alan Cumyn comments that he wanted to write something Kafka-esque, with a dream-like way of writing. But I see none of that in this novel, and I am not the only one; as is obvious when looking at the Goodreads reviews of this novel. I am happy to admit that if I try, I can see that he was trying to write something serious, maybe even comment on some very important issues of prejudice on race, sex, and society. But, that only works if the story is worth reading and entertaining enough to make an impact.

Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is not that. It’s ridiculous and achieves nothing more than that, and somehow it’s been given a platform. Which angers me a bit. How is it that this atrocious read can find a publisher when there are so many talented indie authors out there producing works that are far and away better than this pointless novel. Now, I’m not trying to be mean, in fact I don’t even like writing reviews if I can’t find something good in it. Typically, I follow the rule, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Unfortunately, this book has made me reconsider that. It struck me as a conundrum that made me think more about how it could have gotten the deal, and the steam in order to make a decent amount of money.

The publishers marketed the hell out of this book; they gave it a shiny eye catching cover (the British version is actually rather cool), and then they blasted it out there on the internet, touting it as hilarious, and fun, and a must read. It’s not any of those things. If it is anything, it is a poorly executed novel on prejudices, fears of the unknown, and the sexual yearnings and awakening of the main character. It is not at all funny, unless you find yourself laughing (like I did) at the ridiculousness of this writer trying to sell me on the notion that all these people in this town and high school fall head over heels for some hunky prehistoric beast. The parents’ reactions to the whole existence of a pterodactyl, let alone pterodactyl sex, and how often the flying beast, Pyke, does it is atrocious in that…they don’t react! Even the arrival of the giant winged creature sparks no astonishment, wonder or fear. Instead, the kids all just get totally into him, obsessed with him even. I won’t even mention the crows, purple noses denoting that they’ve, ya know, done it with an extinct creature or the weird band Pyke is the frontman for that apparently causes teenage orgies, because it’s simply pointless.

It’s not like I can’t see what the writer is trying to get at. Slut-shaming, social media bullying, ruined reputations, discovering oneself both internally and sexually, I get it, I can see it in there. The massive problem is, I don’t care. I have absolutely no way to associate with the characters; they’re hollow and don’t react in any relatable human way. You could say I’m well past my teen years, so maybe that’s the issue, but I don’t think that is the case. I think in trying to write something serious, with a front of the absurd, has ruined whatever lovely, dreamlike, teenage “metamorphosis” that was intended for this story.

If we go back to the comment that started this whole thing in motion, “Don’t go writing your hot pterodactyl boyfriend novel”, then this book really fails. The phrase was meant as a snappy comment on following the trend to write only what is popular. In other words, don’t go writing another teen novel about a hot werewolf, vampire, centaur, alien (insert anything ludicrous), write something unique. It didn’t mean, go write a shallow book about a hot pterodactyl coming into town and the main female character falling into an obsessive fiend who falls for the prehistoric creature for no reason whatsoever. Does this sound familiar? It should, because it is basically the plot of many YA novels (ie: sulky Bella falling for the enigmatic and dangerous looking Edward. Or Clary and Jace…I could go on and on.)

This book is like asking you to care about Dracula, but not telling you anything about the pain he felt when he lost his true love. He’s nothing but a monster without a heart, and that is what this book lacks, a heart. It contains nothing to make me want to claw through the dream-like, metaphysical writing that the author was striving for.

Goodreads Review

It’s hard to understand if this book is or is not making fun of itself, but as an audiobook I will admit there were times I laughed out loud at the ridiculousness. Especially when the narrator describes the hot pterodactyl teenager with intonations of lust and desire.

On a serious note, I think there is something in the story that is trying to comment on prejudice as well as being a teenager and dealing with those hormones and choices that they face. Like choices of sex, their future, who they really are going to turn out to be.

Unfortunately, the story fails to find its purpose; becoming too jumbled to drive home any kind of satire or lessons to be learned from it. The characters lack any depth that makes the reader want to become invested in their story. The story is also a bit scattered, and jumps at a quick pace that, again, doesn’t engage the reader into wanting to finish it off.

I wouldn’t recommend the book, but if you do read it, try it on audio, because it really does sound funny when the narrator gets into the sultry, hormonal expressions of a hot prehistoric exchange student.


!!!!!SPOILER!!!!!

Also, if you think this is about a mutant, hot teenage boy mixed in with a pterodactyl, it isn’t. Literally, it’s a pterodactyl, with the beak, and wings. Nothing about the description of this supposed hot pterodactyl boyfriend is…hot.

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