by Siobhan Vivian
I really shouldn't start a book when I'm in bed, this point becomes glaringly obvious as I flip the last page and look at the clock, it's 3:45 AM!!
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 wants to sleep 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.
My Expectations: I've heard mostly positive things, I saw a review at Persnickety Snark that made me want to read it. Plus lots of bloggers I love gave it 5 stars.
Delivery: Wow, it was freaking addicting and freaking good!
Put-down-ability: did you see my intro? I couldn't stop if I wanted, 1/10
Not That Kind of Girl bundles of so many things into a ball of energy and awesome, and I say that in the fondest way possible. Natalie Sterling is who would be a foil or even the antagonist in the plenty of YA contemp novels, I mean she’s the determined and controlling straight-A student, Student Council president and uptight to the tenth degree. She’s so strong in her personal beliefs that it is both an advantage and hindrance for her, but that’s only the beginning as her ideals starts to unravel.
Vivian crafted a dynamic story that beautifully reflects the ups and downs of a character under pressure to do the right thing and project an image of perfection in a high school scene. Natalie isn't shielded from the consequenes of her own actions, and what makes this book work is that realism. Natalie isn't immune to flaws and neither is any other character in the book.
The themes of feminism shine through in a subtle manner. Natalie and Spencer have opposite opinions when it comes to some aspects of feminism, especially female sexuality. Character foils are used to explore feminism in the novel but I’m eternally grateful that it never turned into a preachy message-- it was done with finesse.
I felt the pacing in this book was well done because it had the potential to drag on since it lacks explosions, but the author kept things reigned in tightly and carefully avoided dreadful pothole clichés. The romance could have ended up ridiculously predictable, and I was so glad it didn't. The plot itself is nothing spectacular, but I felt through 3-dimensional characters and sharp writing; this novel can hold its own against even the best in the genre.
Not That Kind of Girl is a novel that many teens can relate to, it is a novel about insecurities and finding your place, exploring who you are and change, about image and hypocrisy and feminism and so much more. It’s about the boxes and labels people are shoved in only for everyone to find out the box must’ve been mislabelled. It’s about ‘that kind of girl’… wait, what kind of girl is ‘that kind of girl’??
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: All female YA readers, contemporary fans
Acknowledgements: Hmm, 1.5/5
9/10 – because I really loved so many things about this novel, namely the characters. Vivian does a fantastic job navigating the tricky holds of high school, relationships, sexuality, and personal growth. She has created well-rounded characters that I could just read about all night long, and might I mention that I seriously couldn’t put this book down? Not That Kind of Girl is a somewhat underrated read that I really think contemporary fans shouldn’t miss out on.
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