Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Not That Kind of Girl

by Siobhan Vivian

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Pages: Hardback, 322

Publisher: Push

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.

High school is one of those times where you are trying to figure out who you are and are faced with pressure like never before (and that you never again face). Natalie Sterling is experiencing all of this while being her own worst enemy. While she is desperately trying to keep it all together, she finds her life crumbling around her. I have to admit that it took me a while to warm up to Natalie. She is a very self obsessed person and manipulates those around her quite often to get what she needs. Her relationship with Connor, however, brought her into a whole new light for me. Connor saw something in Natalie that she didn’t see in herself and desperately tried to get her to open up and see it too. The more he tried, however, the more she resisted and caused more trouble for herself. At the end of the novel, Natalie had begun to make her transformation and I like that it was one where she recognized there would have to be gradual process. I get tired of those books where the lead needs to change, does, and BAM! Their life is perfect without all the drama. Real life doesn’t work like that so I appreciate Vivian’s acknowledgment of that fact.

Natalie is a very relatable character to many because she does want to fit in, have her life in order and is protective of her best friend. She does, however, take it to the extreme which some cannot relate to. As much as I didn’t get her in the end, she is probably one of my favorite characters because she is so well written and real. I really appreciate the fact that I didn’t like her and now do all because of the writing. Vivian did a great job of showing the dynamics of a variety of relationships in a teenagers life (from best friend, the one we take under our wing, the guy we like and even our parents) and how important they are to even the most controlling of us.

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