Thursday, April 11, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

And now for something completely different. . .

Lindsey Leavitt hooked me with Sean Griswold’s Head, so I thought it likely I would read whatever she wrote next. Then, when I saw the blurb in anticipation of its release several months ago, I was so eager to read it I did a WOW post and pre-ordered it.

Going Vintage is a YA contemporary narrated by the sweet but somewhat scattered Mallory, a California High School junior who, as the book opens, defines herself by her boyfriend. Mallory has been dating Jeremy for over a year. They love each other as desperately as only seventeen-year-olds can, which means spending a great deal of time making out.

Mallory enjoys this but also gets a bit bored with it. So, one evening she interrupts the activity to get back to the homework they were supposed to be doing, but first sends Jeremy to fix her a snack. While he’s gone, she opens up his computer to get started on the homework. He hadn’t closed his "Friendspace" page. Mallory gets an eyeful. Jeremy has been cheating on her with a cyber girlfriend named BubbleYum.

An ugly break-up follows.

At home, Mallory is helping her grandmother to move into a retirement community. While sorting through her grandmother’s belongings, she comes across a to-do list - circa 1962. It includes things like: Run for pep-squad secretary and sew a dress for homecoming. These things are so uncomplicated, so pre-2013, so comforting, that Mallory decides the cure for what ails her is to return to the good old days–the days before technology ruined teenagers’ lives. The fact that "Friendspace" is agog over the Jeremy-Mallory split, rumors are flying, and her name is mud, makes the renouncing of at least some technology sound like a very good idea. But Mallory jettisons it all: computer, cellphone, modern clothes, even her alarm clock. She adopts her grandmother’s list for her own. Mallory is going vintage.

This is a cute, fast-paced story. Mallory is a believable protagonist. She’s self-absorbed but comes around before it gets too annoying that she’s missing some pretty obvious clues of other people’s distress. She has parental problems, but the problems are pretty mild and she’s able, in the end, to recognize what’s important. She has an awesome younger sister who just about steals the show, and Mallory is smart enough to adore her. Mostly she has boy troubles–the book is about overcoming boy troubles by finding yourself.

Although I enjoyed Sean Griswold’s Head more–I thought it had a bit more emotional heft to it, this one started out sillier–I did think this book was fun. I particularly liked the younger sister. Leavitt has an engaging style and creates quirky, lovable characters. I'll pass this one on to my daughter (who also liked Sean Griswold's Head.)

1 comment:

  1. I had a very similar assessment of this book-I LOVED SGH and felt a little let down by this one just because it didn't have that heft. It was still a lot of fun though and I remain a devoted Leavitt fan.