Sunday, July 14, 2013
On my very first visit there since sojourning to Seattle for the school year, I combed the YA shelves for new releases that I had missed in my absence (because a college student just doesn't read YA books in college, regardless of how brain-meltingly saccharine or comfortingly low-comprehension they are). While picking through the stacks, I found Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt, which had been making the rounds on some of my favorite book blogs back in March, and I decided to give it a shot. It was packed along with four other books into my library bag, and checked out. (New Haul!)
This novel - which could be renamed Teenage First World Problems in Three Acts - tells the story of a high school kid named Mallory, who discovers that her real-life boyfriend has been cheating on her with a cyber-life wife named BubbleYum on a "Second Life" -esque computer game. In an attempt to release the toxicity of the affair from her system, she purges not only the offending culprit, but all means for such dishonesty - including computers and cell phones - and, inspired by a list of goals from her grandmother's junior year of high school, leads her life by a technological code of ethics that successfully plunges herself back into 1962. During this wild experiment, she must complete tasks written on the list, along with the help of her sister - sew her own homecoming dress, and become secretary of Pep Club at her school, for instance - but the goals she sets to accomplish take her far beyond what she dreamed possible.
Overall, I thought this novel - though with a unique and interesting story line - was pretty true to genre. Quirky and unique female in "distress" (the real-world affect of which isn't so distressing) and offending hunky male, contrivance of strange and ineffective scheme to set everything right, nothing works out the way she planned, bada bing, bada boom, end of story. It was an episode of That's So Raven or Hannah Montana; it was a twee, hyper-snarky Zooey Deschanel short story, written in her younger years. It wasn't boring by any means, just predictable, even down to the voice of the character, and honestly, that's what I've come to expect from most girly Young Adult Romances.
However, that isn't to say that it was strictly a Romance, either. It had all the trappings of a typical one, but instead of going full throttle and charging straight into a relationship with another character, Mallory was given the gift of time and patience and the ability to heal from her wounds, first. She really does grow from the problems that hurt her so badly in the beginning of the novel, which, without stepping into the realm of the moralistic, certainly allows for a lesson to be learned in young readers.
That, as I came to realize after reviewing the book carefully, was the general audience of the novel: young readers. Though the novel itself is written from the point of view of someone entering their junior year of high school, the book is tame enough to enter into territory of "sedate" for anyone around that age, but is perfect for those around 12-15, who have no real knowledge of how such things like high school work. Anyone older would get as bored as I did, and anyone younger wouldn't have any idea of how things were like in the 1960s, so hitting between is really the sweet spot.
Going Vintage was a sometimes over-dramaticized, sometimes over-complicated-yet-under-comprehensive, and always fluffy and sweet young adult novel, written for the younger end of the spectrum.