Vivi is a manic pixie dream girl type - she writes "Vivi was here" on everything, she eats through the menu at the local diner, she dresses eccentricaVivi is a manic pixie dream girl type - she writes "Vivi was here" on everything, she eats through the menu at the local diner, she dresses eccentrically, she invites herself to sit with strangers and makes up games to win them over, and she decides that she's going to save sad townie boy Jonah with just how wonderful and spontaneous she is. Her MPDG-ness IS what wins Jonah over, so he doesn't really understand when she falls into a real manic episode as a result of her bipolar disorder.
The book has a lot to say about bipolar disorder, but not a lot to say about the manic pixie dream girl trope that Vivi so fully embraces, and I kept waiting for a reveal where Vivi is using that performance as a way to hide her illness, and a realization that her and Jonah's relationship isn't healthy at all. I think it's fair for me to read that into the book - there's a moment when Vivi is in her full-blown manic episode where she goes to the diner and doesn't have the energy anymore to play the eating-through-the-menu game because it's entirely consumed in a fixation on numbers where she seems to acknowledge the former thing as being a performance - but it's not explicit. And I think it could have been a really interesting novel that contrasts the romanticized version of mental illness with the reality of it, but it doesn't quite do that. Instead, we are supposed to read Vivi and Jonah's relationship as a true romance, and that doesn't really work for me. To be honest, I found their romance boring. Vivi is caught up in how much Jonah "needs" her, and Jonah is caught up in how crazy/beautiful Vivi is, and that's all. There's only one good scene of flirting and no emotional build-up to their relationship. I was, in fact, much more invested in a possible relationship between Jonah and Ellie, who acts as the voice of reason between the two narratives and is the only person who really accepts that both Vivi and Jonah's mother are actually ill.
Overall, I would say that this book pulls off a pretty amazing feat of being a great conversation-starter while also being kind of boring to read. ...more
This book has just surface-level information. The book design and layout is good, but I was annoyed by a few things, like not attributing Twitter postThis book has just surface-level information. The book design and layout is good, but I was annoyed by a few things, like not attributing Twitter posts, and a stock image of a teenager with a caption that implied she was a prostitute. I was disappointed how little the book actually covers the history of feminism and politics - the temperance movement was not even mentioned. Honestly, considering this book cites Buzzfeed and the quotes pages of Goodreads (instead of the actual book from which it is quoted), this book doesn't add much more than a teen would glean from being a regular user of tumblr....more
This was a bit dull and repetitive until the end. I wish it had stuck more closely with the mystery plot line and less with Summer's internal drama (tThis was a bit dull and repetitive until the end. I wish it had stuck more closely with the mystery plot line and less with Summer's internal drama (though more plot, less angst is kind of an un-Becky-like thing to say). I get it, Summer, you don't want to write your admissions essay, etc....more