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My Not-So-Still Life

3.07 of 5 stars 3.07  ·  rating details  ·  239 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Vanessa is wise beyond her years. She's never really fit in at school, where all the kids act and dress the same. She's an artist who expresses her talent in the wacky colors she dyes her hair, her makeup and clothes. She's working on her biggest art project, and counting the days until she's grown up and can really start living. That adult world seems closer when Vanessa ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Wendy Lamb Books
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Drama by Raina TelgemeierOver You by Amy ReedMy Not-So-Still Life by Liz GallagherAbsolutely Maybe by Lisa YeeHairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno
Rainbow Hair
3rd out of 38 books — 7 voters
How I Found the Perfect Dress by Maryrose WoodMy Not-So-Still Life by Liz GallagherIncarnate by Jodi MeadowsForgive My Fins by Tera Lynn ChildsUnrequited by Emily  Shaffer
Bright Makeup
2nd out of 31 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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This book will have appeal for the artist types who don't feel like they belong. I think there's also appeal for more reluctant readers, since it's short and a quick read.

For me, though, Vanessa was never a fully developed character and a lot of what she did seemed really young and immature for a sophomore in high school. I know that's the point, but I would have appreciated her better as a younger character -- 7th or 8th grade -- but that wouldn't have worked in the context of the sexual si
Page Turners Blog
My Not-So-Still Life is a companion book for The Opposite of Invisible - I was unaware that it was a companion book and felt like I was missing something while reading My Not-So-Still Life. I would advise reading The Opposite of Invisible first; maybe it will help understand what happen with Vanessa and Jewel; that relationship is basically the catalyst for Vanessa's behavior in My Not-So-Still Life.

My Not-So-Still Life is told from Vanessa's point of view - she is an artist and like most artis
My Not-So-Still Life was an interesting read for me. I don’t really have that huge of an opinion about it, there were some things I liked and some things that I wasn’t as crazy about, with all the pieces falling in at about a perfect center.

I really liked Liz Gallagher’s writing, it was beautiful prose. Some of her descriptions got a bit lengthy though. I felt like so much of the book was Vanessa’s descriptions, which made sense, as she is an artist and I feel would see the world that way.

Not a
Summary: Vanessa is ready to be an adult, although you might not be able to see that from her appearance—bright pink hair and vibrant clothing. She has friends her own age, but is captivated by the people she meets while working at Palette, her local art store. Vanessa takes steps to become more independent and adult-like, but is she growing up too fast?

My thoughts: The narrator and protagonist of My Not-So-Still Life, Vanessa, is a perfect portrait of a restless teen. She has things she’s good
This is a quick read and I found the story to be very relevant. Vanessa is the girl you know. She wants to be identified as someone. She wants to be herself but doesn't know who she is. She identifies with some form of fashion statement and colors her hair according to her mood. She wears a colored string according to her mood. She's ready for the next big thing which is nebulous but it's definitely not high school.

Vanessa gets a job at an art store and identifies with some of the characters th
Luann Schindler
Ever read a book that's trying too hard to make a point, but it never comes full circle (because the resolution is oh-so-common sense?
This is it.
The MC is completely so self-absorbed, I'm not sure she could find her way out of a box. Harsh, yes.
The main reason I have trouble with this book is that there's no twist. There's nothing that sets this book about teen angst apart from others I've read. She wants to hurry up and grow up. Don't most teens?
That said, I did like the fact that it incorpora
My Not-So-Still Life is the story of an average teenager, who is ready to grow up, do important things, and who feels stuck in high school. Vanessa wants to be different, unique and wants to explore the person she really is. Which in her case, is dying her hair crazy bright colors, wearing bold makeup and dressing up like no one around her does.

Vanessa finds high school completely useless, and finally wants to go out in the world and do something that has purpose; for her that's art! Its seems l
Gallagher's writing is pedestrian, and Vanessa is a pill.
Booorriinngg. End of story.
I loved Liz Gallagher's first novel, The Opposite of Invisible. I gobbled it up - I read it in one day. However, I was a little bit disappointed with this novel.

I didn't have a problem connecting with the characters. I connected with all the main characters and could understand where they were coming from when they were talking. That wasn't a problem.

The other thing I didn't have a problem with was the setting. The setting was wonderfully described and I could picture it clearly in my head as I
I enjoyed My Not-So-Still Life quite a bit. It was a really quick read filled with humor and interesting insights of life.

This novel follows Vanessa, a teenage girl who, instead of trying to fit in, has tried to stand out. She is constantly changing her hair color, she wears a colored string on her wrist to depict her mood (purple is the best, black, which comes after red, is the worst) and she is on a never-ending search to define herself in the artistic world. She can’t wait until she graduate
Just finished this today, and I loved it. I feel like the conflicts faced by the main character represent a lot of teenagers who, sometimes and to varying degrees, feel kind of trapped by their environment (hello). Vanessa might be a bit of an extreme case, with her insistence on standing out and being a walking work of art and her general impatience with all things high school, but I guess sometimes that's what it takes for the author to really convey a message strongly. I also loved how art- t ...more
Ashley (Bookaholics Anonymous)
This is basically a story of how Vanessa learns that growing up to fast may not always be the best thing, and just being who you are is sometimes the best feeling you can have.

I can't say that I got to much out of this story. I wasn't really interested in the characters, or what was going on with them. If I'm going to love a story I have to be able to love the characters as well, and not just the story. If that doesn't happen then the story better be full of awesomeness. At times I thought Vane
I loved Liz Gallagher's first novel, The Opposite of Invisible, and have been looking forward to reading something new by her. I was disappointed when I learned her next book would be a companion novel featuring Vanessa, a minor character from Opposite. Vanessa played an interesting role in The Opposite of Invisible as the girl Jewel starts to date while his best friend Alice (Opposite's narrator) dates a cute boy in their class. But she was also "the other woman" to me. The girl I couldn't root ...more
Mariama Konneh
I think this Book is a great adventure into the life of a not so average teenager who looks at her life and the world as a big canvas waiting to be painted by her!!! This book even though using simplistic words is a young adult novel that i think the artist, the undefined, and the searching for their identity teenager would enjoy. This book showes the growing up process of Vannessa who's eager to get out into the world and become an adult so she can be the master of her own destiny. But along th ...more
I read "The Opposite of Invisible" before reading this, so her references to Jewel and Alice made sense. I liked knowing who Vanessa was after getting to know Alice in the previous book. I also liked that it gave a sense of continuity to life and was a reminder that every person thinks differently. So yes, I thought it was genius to write about two characters whose lives once intertwined but don't anymore, while acknowledging each of their existences in overlapping settings.

In terms of the voice
Steph Su
I read Liz Gallagher’s first book, The Opposite of Invisible, and fell in love with her sparse but powerful and relatable prose. Therefore, I went into Liz’s second book, MY NOT-SO-STILL LIFE, with great anticipation. Perhaps a little too much—for while MY NOT-SO-STILL LIFE is a solid addition to the YA contemporary genre, it didn’t have the lasting emotional impact I had found in The Opposite of Invisible.

Given a few allowances, I think that Vanessa is a very relatable protagonist. She’s an art
I think I got this book because I liked the artistic part of it. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I liked it. I'm starting to read more realistic books, but I am still a fantasy lover at heart. I enjoyed this book because it reminded me of how I felt about photography when I was a student. It also reminded me of how i felt as a teenager. I was similar to this character in the way my mind worked at that age. I wanted to live more when I finished high school and started college though. I was very ...more
Though it does have a few warm moments, I wouldn't recommend this book. The main character, Vanessa, is not endearing or particularly sensible for most of the book, and I only really finished it because I figured, "eh. May as well."
Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit)
The biggest problem I had with My Not-So-Still Life was with the main character, Vanessa, which unfortunately is a huge issue and hard to overcome. While I did like that she enjoyed art (and, subsequently, that she got to work in an art store), I did not like her poor decision making in attempts to drastically change her life. She wants to be older, wants to be seen as mature and not as a high schooler. I identified with some of her feelings (as I'm sure most high schoolers do at some point), bu ...more
The book my not so still life takes place in a lot of settings for example, an art store and a house. The main charchter Is a 16 year old named Vannesa. She is also my favorite charchter. This book is about Vannesa and she is not considerd normal because she has pink hair. In the begaing she releizes that she will never be normal. Than in the middle of the book all she wants to do is grow up. Than in the last part of the book her friends worry that the guy she meet is not the right guy for her a ...more
It was overall good, but it was confusing at certain times and I felt that the author rushed to finish the novel. It also seemed that the author wasn't detailed enough, and I felt that the author should have done something regarding Jewel, Vanessa's ex boyfriend because the last time he was mentioned or really talked about was when Vanessa was in the thrift shop. I also disliked that there was such a quick romance between James and Vanessa, it was almost like the author just threw it in there. L ...more
My Not-So-Still Life is a quick read that will be appreciated by any teen girl who has felt that she is in a hurry to just get past high school, where she doesn't really fit in. This is the companion book to The Opposite of Invisible, which it may be helpful (but not necessary) to read to understand Vanessa's background and motivations. Artistic types will enjoy Vanessa's musings on the definition of real art, and her attempts at self-expression through it. The majority of the story is quite who ...more
With the exception of Nick, most of the characters in this book were completely unlikable.
Tiffany Tinney
The book was different from others I have read. I normally read paranormals but I do like the fact that Vanessa was atristic and had artistic true friends. Initially she was the teen who was so sure of herself and what she wanted that she did not stop to think about things. I am glad that she realized some mistakes that she was about to make...specifically with James. Overall, great coming into your own story. Liz Gallagher
Apr 04, 2013 Leslie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young adult-older
I just finished The Lucky Kind and then read this book. I was surprised to read two books about parents who became pregnant at a young age. The Lucky Kind deals with a father who gave a son up for adoption and this book deals with a girl whose mom had her when she was young. I enjoyed the theme of "going to far" and "stop before you go to far" in a genre for young teens. Both books dealt with sex, but not in a "we need to tell you everything way." I enjoyed the book.
Diana Renn
As a Seattleite, I loved the way Gallagher brought Seattle to life, especially in her depictions of the Seattle art scene. I was drawn in (no pun intended) by the main character's desire to grow up quickly and to get attention from her art, and the consequences of some of her impulsive decisions. The novel reads quickly, but is deeper than it might appear; it asks great questions about art, and what it means to make an artistic statement.
Vanessa may have been wise beyond her years but she was such a snotty main character! That hoity-toity attitude she had about those who are not artistic individuals like her was hard to stomach.
If she had been more down-to-earth about being different, I could have progressed with the book. But she wasn't, which made me dislike her, in turn making me not bother with the book anymore.
3.5* Short, sweet, and well-written. The characters are enjoyable and the messages are quiet but important. Gallagher has a great level of tone throughout the piece. The only real issue is that nothing feels pushed as far as it could go. Still, it's a quality book, and I will definitely be on the look out for more from Gallagher (and looking for her debut novel, too).
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