For 99 cents in the Nook store, I figured this would be worth a shot, and I'm glad I gave it a try. Overall, it was light reading with an emotionally...moreFor 99 cents in the Nook store, I figured this would be worth a shot, and I'm glad I gave it a try. Overall, it was light reading with an emotionally resonant core and some truly memorable characters.
In this tale of a "perfect" daughter's slide into rebellion, the author has a terrific grasp of teenagers' emotions and logic, and scenes where parents and children talk past each other are wrenchingly real. At many points, it felt like Leah was finally ready to reconcile with her parents and put a stop to her rebellious behavior, only to have one small thing send her back into the arms of her delinquent boyfriend. A few characters seemed a little flat, but many characters that could very easily have veered into utter cartoons were nuanced and interesting. (For instance, Leah's straitlaced ex-best friend Cissy is a snide, shoplifting gossip hound, where her new, party-loving friend Hope is a genuine, caring friend to her even while she's a terrible influence.)
What the author didn't get right were the cultural references, and this should have been a tiny thing, but it was extremely distracting because of the sheer number of times these totally dissonant references were made. Teenagers in the 00s wouldn't be wearing overalls and listening to Oasis, Rage Against the Machine, or Nirvana. (All on CD, no less.) The author was obviously either a parent to teenagers, or a teenager herself, in the 90s. This would have been a fairly simple thing to get right - either set the story itself in the 90s or do a little googling to find some current references. (less)
Having enjoyed Secrets of the Tomb, The Overachievers, and Quarterlife Crisis, I found this irresistible when it was three bucks in the Nook store. I...moreHaving enjoyed Secrets of the Tomb, The Overachievers, and Quarterlife Crisis, I found this irresistible when it was three bucks in the Nook store. I think I enjoyed it less than the others because I definitely related far more to the other three. Having gone to a small college with no Greek system, I have no actual sorority-related experience to relate this book to, and only a vague notion of what it must be like (based mostly on having lived in single-sex dorms for three years of high school and four years of college, having walked by Fraternity Row at a big state school on a weekend night, and having seen Legally Blonde). I was waiting to be surprised, either positively or negatively, by some aspect of sorority life as portrayed in this book, but it seemed to be pretty much exactly what I'd pictured. Mainstream sorority life as depicted here is classist, shallow, and centered almost entirely on social life (specifically, on entertaining men and drinking a lot). Even though I'm ten years out of college, this would still have struck me as pretty pointless and dull back when I was in undergrad, and not even Robbins's compelling voice fully rescues it.
She has a great talent for portraying her subjects as well-rounded, sympathetic characters, though, and even when their trials and tribulations were at their most trivial and petty, I still cared about the girls in the book and wanted to know what happened to them.(less)
I picked this up yesterday because I wanted a fast read so I could beat the number of books I read in 2010. I don't expect a lot out of Jodi Picoult,...moreI picked this up yesterday because I wanted a fast read so I could beat the number of books I read in 2010. I don't expect a lot out of Jodi Picoult, but this is actually one of her better ones. Many of her usual tropes are present (male protagonist making noble sacrifices for the woman he can't have, sulky teenage girl who just needs the right person to open up to, sassy female lawyer crusading for justice while wisecracking, tenacious fortysomething heroine) but it was genuinely moving and the story was a new spin on her usual formula. (less)