Thursday, December 9, 2010

NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL by Siobhan Vivian

Author: Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Push
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Number of Pages: 336
How I Got It: In my box of free books at ALAN

When I met Siobhan Vivian at the ALAN Workshop, she signed my book and said "I hope you enjoy it." and I told her that I had already pulled it out of my box of books I was going to ship back and hers was in the pile of books to take on the plane with me to read on the flight home. That is how intrigued I was by the premise of this book based on the summary alone. I had not read any of Siobhan Vivian's other books before NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL, but I already bought her others to read based on how much I enjoyed this one!
Summary (from Goodreads) 
     Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things.

     But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you want to be with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.
     Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book about the high school drama, relationships, friendships, goals, and reputations. It is a combination book: it's light-hearted, but also deals with heavy, important topics for high school age girls. It is about discovery and finding yourself and figuring out what you really want in life. It's about learning to live your life for yourself and not for what others think of you, but figuring out what it is that others actually do think of you because of how you portray yourself. It's about being OK with the kind of girl you are, and making sure it's the kind of girl you want to be and want others to view you as. It's about reputations (good and bad), how to get them, how to change them, and how important they should really be in making your own decisions. It's a book about girls standing up for each other and supporting each other in being successful. It's about girls having to own up to their bad decisions with boys, but also finding when they're honest about who they are, they are stronger with each other, themselves, and the boys they're focused on. It's about not judging people based on rumors or who you think they are, but giving them a chance to get to know them for who they really are. It's a book that shows girls and boys in all lights - the good and the bad. It's a book showing serious social consequences for actions. 

This book doesn't pull punches. It's honest. It's scary. It's full of heart. It's full of empowerment messages. There are several subplots to keep track of, and the plot kept me interested with all of the things going on. I appreciate the fact that the boy character was a genuinely good guy, although it didn't seem that way in the beginning - again going back to the idea of judging without knowing, just as the main character does. It has characters I'd want to be friends with, characters I'd want to mentor, and characters I'd be interested in. It's enjoyable - an easy, straight-forward read, and highly recommended. It's for a more mature reader, but nothing too graphic, and it's an important before high school read. Vivian writes with a friendly, realistic voice. She writes real characters who have lots of layers. High school is a breeding ground for rumors and ridicule. It's a dangerous balancing act and this book sends the message that you really need to have a strong sense of who you are, your values, and your goals in order to survive it.

Other Books that I was reminded of: The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulburg, She's So Money by Cherry Cheva, and Good Girls by Laura Ruby


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