Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks | Review4 min read

Review of Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

Quick Info about Pumpkinheads

 

Title Pumpkinheads
Author Rainbow Rowell (Author), Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrator)
Publisher First Second
Release Date August 27th 2019
Format Hardcover (library)
Representation Racially diverse minor characters; Black, fat, bi+ main character
Content Warnings Fatphobic comments (challenged on page), casual biphobia
Synopsis Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

 Review of Pumpkinheads

I can finally say I’ve read a book by Rainbow Rowell now! But honestly, I really only picked Pumpkinheads up because Faith Erin Hicks illustrated it, and, well… I’m certainly in love with the art. Not so in love with the story that I just read, though.

I’m generally very terrible at guessing the ending of books, movies, tv shows, etc. (Just ask anyone that’s ever watched a movie with me. I’m almost always surprised.) So maybe my disappointment in this book comes from me not being able to see where it was going until it was there. But even when I could see where the authors were trying to take it (in the last, like, twenty pages, of course), I was still hoping it wouldn’t go there. Below is a spoiler-y rant in white text. (Highlight to read)

Let me start off by asking why it is so impossible to have two main characters of different genders that don’t like each other romantically? Literally, why? I was really enjoying the friendship Josiah and Deja had! And then at the last minute, Deja’s all like “I’ve listened to you gush about this girl for years and I’ve been in love with you the whole time, you oblivious dumb man.” I’m sorry, no. There was no reason. I actually hate that twist.

*SIGH*

Okay, continuing.

I have another non-spoiler complaint, mostly about the representation in Deja’s character. She doesn’t label anywhere in the book, but since she’s shown to have dated girls and boys in the past, we can safely say she’s bi or pan or something along those multisexual lines. I’m not mad about her not labeling. I’m mad that she’s shown to have dated a bunch of people from the pumpkin patch to the point where Josiah’s like, How come you get to date everyone here and I can’t even talk to this one girl? Let in the story, he even makes a comment that if Deja had talked to the girl Josiah’s pining for, she probably would have dated her already.

I’m not a fan of any of that bisexual who’s been around trope.

So what did I like about this book? I liked the world-building that went into this pumpkin patch place. I liked the culture they set up and all the different autumn and Halloween things happening in the park, which the reader gets to see a lot of as Deja and Josiah are running around trying to find someone and reminiscing about their years working here.

Hicks’ art style is just as beautiful as ever, too. The color scheme fits the story and the tone really well. Honestly, the art is probably what I liked best about this book.

Overall, Pumpkinheads simply wasn’t for me.

Whom I recommend this to

  • Fans of Rainbow Rowell’s other books, because, from what I’ve heard, this seems like the classic kind of story she writes.
  • Those looking for a casual autumn/Halloween-themed read
  • Readers who like friends to lovers stories

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