Just before Amy York left for college, her father, on a whim, came up with the Utensil Classification System. Meant to help Amy make educated decisions about the kind of guys she’d encounter, the UCS featured forks, knives, and spoons and provided Amy and her friends with a quick and easy way to categorize their dates. Her father’s off the cuff comment quickly snowballed in Amy’s overactive imagination, and soon she had her whole dorm discussing the benefits and pitfalls of sneak knives, shrimp forks, and serving spoons.
While I enjoyed the premise of the story, it had a very predictable and stereotypical plot. Aside from the quirky UCS and the late 1980s-early 1990s setting, there was little to differentiate this book from the hundreds of others that came before it. Given just a few minutes, I could probably rattle off at least ten books I’ve read in the past year or so that have followed the same plot.
I’m not sure if Amy was meant to be stupid or if the author doesn’t do subtle foreshadowing, but I saw the drama with Amy’s main love interest coming from a mile (or maybe at least a hundred pages) away. It was so absolutely, painfully obvious, even from their first encounters, that they were not meant to be together. Amy’s obsession with finding her knife blinded her, but it was so clear that this guy was a fork that I could not understand how Amy didn’t see it. (Don’t even get me started on the third side of that love triangle.)
The book’s saving grace is the novelty of the UCS. While I don’t think it’s realistic that every man in the world fits into one of Amy’s three categories, I did find myself thinking about how I might classify my boyfriend, my boss, and my friends. (Okay, and all of the random men I encountered while I was reading this book.) Forks, Knives, and Spoons had a lot of potential, and I think that it’s a solid effort for DeCesare’s debut New Adult novel. With time, experience, and ideas like these, I have no doubt that she’ll be an author to watch.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!
Final rating: ★★★☆☆