Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lightning Strikes

This Girl is Different

Written by: JJ Johnson

Released: April 2, 2011 by Peachtree Publishers

Summary: This girl is different… That’s what Evie has always told herself—and it’s true. Home-schooled by her counter culture mom, she’s decided to see what high school is like for the first time—for her senior year. And what a year it is.

As it turns out, it’s not just Evie who’s Different. Lots of people are. Many of her assumptions about others are turned on their heads as she makes friends with kids her own age for the first time, discovers what’s good and what’s bad about high school, and learns lessons about power and its abuse—both by the administration and by Evie herself.

I’m not sure what to think of this book. I liked it, but it also took me a while to get to that point. Somewhere about a quarter in I contemplated chalking this one up to a no-go and leaving it at that; but it’s a 2011 debut and I hate leaving a book unfinished. I felt really bad, too, that it was very generously given to me through netGalley and I was considering not finishing it. So, I stuck with it and pretty soon I was fairly enamoured.

The beginning and surface content of this book was fun; a homeschooled girl experiences the institution known as high school for the first time in her life for her senior year. Throw in that she lives a relatively “hippie” lifestyle with a free-spirit mother and you’re sure to have some chaos ensue. What I wasn’t expecting was just how much trouble would be stirred up. Add the cherry of the fragility of new friendships, shake, and there you have it.

Evie was a strong character, I’ll give you that. And she was different to read, too, since a lot of the really strong female characters (at least I find) are set in more dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy settings and not near as many situated in more realistic settings. I liked her friends too, though Jacinda irked me a little, but both her and Rajas (what is the pronunciation on that anyways?)were well crafted in my eyes.

I loved the idea of the PLUTOs in theory, but seeing how it affected the entirety of the story I think that it would be a Pandora’s Box that I wouldn’t want to open. I don’t want to ruin the story, but think of it as if Gossip Girl took the low, low road and then multiply it by 1,000,000. Let’s just say that the results were well-meaning at first but quickly turned sour.

If you want a ‘damn the man’ type book with slight feminist tendencies that’s written realistically I would highly recommend that you give this book a chance. For me, it was a 6/10 and a great 2011 debut. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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