Samantha Boyette's Reviews > Like Mandarin

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
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's review
Jan 25, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012
Read from January 25 to 28, 2012

So so so so good! I wasn't sure I would love this book when I picked it up, but it only took about 2 minutes for me to fall in love with it. As soon as Grace recalled the first time she noticed Mandarin (right after seven-year-old Grace turned her appearance in a local pageant into a bit of a dirty dance show) I was hooked.

Mandarin is every bit the girl I would have fallen for in high school. I'm not sure why I find myself so drawn to these damaged girls, but I do. (It's clear enough with plenty of my main characters. Heck, Dylan and Mandarin would have a field day together) Mandarin is wild, seemingly carefree, and ready for any sort of excitement. Grace is a lot more like I was in high school. While I was never as quiet as Grace, I had the same longing to be everything I saw in someone like Mandarin. If I had read this book fifteen years ago (Oh God I'm getting old) I think I would have utterly lost myself in it and probably read it until the pages fell out.

Hubbard has written something beautiful here. She's captured every moment of high school torment without ever making it obvious. It's awesome because for so many of us that's what high school was. It wasn't that we were targeted and picked on by our peers, we just felt lost, invisible, and filled with a longing to be more. She's stuffed Grace so full of those feelings that she's about fit to burst by the time Mandarin befriends her. Of course, while Mandarin comes off as the most confident girl ever, it's not long before it becomes clear she is even less sure of herself than Grace. A lesson we've all learned at some time.

This was just a great book, one I would recommend to any teenage girl who thinks she's the only one feeling this way. I'd also recommend it to anyone who loves a beautifully written story, which this for sure is. The characters are all expertly drawn and you feel like you're walking the streets of their small town with every word.
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Reading Progress

01/26/2012 page 165
52.0% "I wanted to stay home from work and keep reading this. Such a good book"
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