Friday, 25 March 2011

Review: This Girl Is Different by JJ Johnson

What happens when a girl, homeschooled by her counterculture mother, decides to spend her senior year in public school? First friendship, first love—and first encounters with the complexities of authority and responsibility.
Evie is different. Not just her upbringing-though that's certainly been unusual-but also her mindset. She's smart, independent, confident, opinionated, and ready to take on a new challenge: The Institution of School.
It doesn't take this homeschooled kid long to discover that high school is a whole new world, and not in the way she expected. It's also a social minefield, and Evie finds herself confronting new problems at every turn, failing to follow or even understand the rules, and proposing solutions that aren't welcome or accepted.
Not one to sit idly by, Evie sets out to make changes. Big changes. The movement she starts takes off, but before she realizes what's happening, her plan spirals out of control, forcing her to come to terms with a world she is only just beginning to comprehend.
So I requested this book via NetGalley as reading through the blurb I thought it would be an interesting read concerning a lot of the problems in society. And while this was true I didn’t particularly enjoy this book for a few reasons.
While I realise that the ideas shown in the book on a lot of things like diversity, prejudice and environmental issues all contributed to the story, it ended up feeling like a very preachy book to me. I felt that instead of reading a story that these were aspects of that I was being lectured by the author and don’t think I’m the only one who will feel this way. One of the instances of this I felt stood out was Evie’s first day at school when she compared TV to opium. In my opinion in a YA novel this is a bad move as even though the readers are probably expecting it from a book like this, the reality is a lot of the readers do actually watch TV, I mean I do and I find it condemning and condescending.
I did however truly love the quotes at the beginning of each chapter and felt that they were well reflected and explored. It was a book that got me thinking about things and I think that one of the reasons I wasn’t a hige fan was simply because I probably didn’t like some of what was being said about how I and the rest of us live.
While Evie was generally likeable it got to a point where I was beginning to consider her a Mary-Sue and starting to roll my eyes at her. She was too perfect. Not only that though the title kept popping up, the line “This girl is different” while she was doing a lot of similar things to girls I know. Not only was she obsessing over a boy but now a days being a confident woman is a lot more common than it used to be. This said she was a strong protagonist who did gain my grudging admiration.
The pacing of this novel was a bit weird, some things I considered irrelevant and boring seeming to take forever and some things I would’ve liked further explored left relatively untouched.
I enjoyed the authors style of writing and loved that it was in present tense as it’s certainly a refreshing change. I felt that Evie’s voice was clear and unique.  
It was definitely a hard book to get into for me and there were a few points at which I felt like putting it down. After persevering and reading the entire book I feel that it was definitely an interesting read just not one I particularly enjoyed.
2/5 silver platters.


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