Monday, September 2, 2013
The title: Going Vintage
The author: Lindsey Leavitt
Publication: Bloomsbury, 2013
Got it from: The library
The plot: 16-year-old Mallory has just found out her boyfriend Jeremy has been cheating on her via an online game called Authentic Life and leaves him an angry message on Friendspace. The next day, while going through her grandmother's basement, she uncovers a list her grandmother made when she was 16 in 1962: sew a dress for homecoming, run for pep-squad secretary, etc. Still hurt and angry, Mallory decides to swear off all technology and complete her grandmother's list.
My thoughts: Wow, it's been awhile since I did a contemporary YA review - apparently my last one was Little Miss Red back in May 2010. Ever since Meg Cabot finished off the Princess Diaries series that same year I haven't found a YA book that's caught my eye. This one looked like it had an interesting premise.
I have mixed feelings about the book. At first I thought Mallory was pretty shallow and her commitment to actually living like it was 1962 seemed fairly weak. But I did feel that she grew as a character, particularly as she learns to see Jeremy for what he really was and her decision that it's okay to go alone to her homecoming dance. She also learns some pretty valuable lessons about taking off her rose-coloured nostalgia glasses as she uncovers truths about her grandmother's past. I liked her growing relationship with Jeremy's cousin Oliver, who is a genuinely nice guy despite being a hipster, a species of male considered extremely unattractive by a panel of me.
My biggest concern with the book is how uninterested Mallory is in her schoolwork. How often in pop culture do we see teens blowing off their studies and considering school to be boring? That is outside of my experience. Sure, some classes could be tedious but I also found a lot of it fascinating as I was encountering it for the first time. Would it have been too much to have Mallory show an interest in at least one subject? The most troubling part of the story comes when Mallory essentially plagiarizes a paper on the Industrial Revolution and is never caught out for it. There is no indication that she is aware of how wrong this is, only an acknowledgment that researching in books is "hard" compared to copying and pasting from the Internet.
Although this was an enjoyable read and did remind me of Meg Cabot, and Mallory does grow some over the course of the book, I would probably rate it a B- because of my conflicted reaction.