Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book Review: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

What do you do when you find out that your boyfriend is cyber-cheating on you?  If you're Mallory in Whitney Award finalist Going Vintage, you post a nasty-gram on his Friendspace account and then foreswear all modern technology.  And if you, like Mallory, happen to be helping your antique-dealing father sort through your grandmother's collected paraphernalia after she moves into a retirement community, you hone in on 1962 with a laughably rose-tinted nostalgic perception of what life must have been like back then and attempt to duplicate your grandmother's goals for her junior year of high school.

I have to admit I wasn't sold on this story from the get-go, but it grew on me.  Or perhaps more specifically, Mallory grew on me as she grew up a bit.  Granted, teenagers can be prone to dramatic declarations and outlandish stunts as a way to show their independence - I went for an ENTIRE MONTH without any chocolate my sophomore year in high school because my boyfriend at the time said he didn't think I couldn't do it - and there's something to be said for deciding to do something and following through no matter how much harder it is than you thought it would be.

Mallory's boy-crazy immaturity at the beginning of the book was in striking contrast to her younger sister Ginnie's self-reliant level-headedness.  I really enjoyed their relationship throughout the book: at turns adversarial, doting, sarcastic, and sappy, but always loving and supportive.

By the end, this initially flippant desire to recreate what she thought was a "simpler time" was a real vehicle for growth in Mallory's life.  As she searches for her place in life she realizes, "I might not know what kind of girl I am, but I know who I'm not."  She keeps her commitment to finish her grandmother's 1962 goals because "like so many other things in my life lately, I want to do this to see if I can."  She comes to realize that - as cliche as it is - no one is perfect, not her, not her parents, not her grandma, but that "real should probably be the goal, not perfection."

And I truly appreciated that at the end **spoiler alert!!** Mallory decides to take time away from relationships with boys to learn more about herself, who she is by herself and on her own.  Of course, there's a great guy waiting in the wings, but that's secondary to the discoveries that Mallory has made about the person she wants to be.
Going Vintage
by Lindsey Leavitt
ISBN: 9781599907871
Buy it from Amazon here: (hardcoverpaperback, ebook, audiobook)
Find it at a local independent bookseller.
Look it up on Goodreads.
Check it out at your local library (find the nearest one here)

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