Tatiana's Reviews > Not That Kind of Girl

Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
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's review
Jan 13, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 2011, ya
Recommended to Tatiana by: Heather

Ok, after meditating on this story during my yoga class, I am going to knock off a star. The more I think about it, the more it seems to me the message this novel sends is rather wishy-washy.

I appreciate any YA book that explores the subject of female sexuality. And Not That Kind Of Girl conveys the sort-of-feminist message that if a girls has sex, she doesn't automatically become a slut, quite well. I just wish the author didn't choose to deliver this message by making the main female character such a high-strung, man-hating, borderline psycho feminazi who can only be humanized by having some schmexing. Surely, there was no need to feed into the stereotype that every staunch feminist just needs some banging to loosen up and stop being so stuck-up?

It is great that Siobhan Vivian portrays that having a boyfriend and being in a relationship doesn't make a strong woman any weaker, but it also, IMO, doesn't make a girl deficient if she chooses to focus on studies and social activities and put aside dating for later, as the author seems to imply as well. I am afraid that while saying that having sex is OK, Vivian forgets to mention that NOT having sex is OK too.

Plus, I do truly have a problem with sex being used as something to divert one's mind from problems, and with someone you don't really know. That is exactly what Natalie does in this novel. Luckily, her partner is a nice guy, but still, that's not the approach to sex I care for.

The other complaint I have is that Natalie's character needed a little more development. Her ardent desire to be a "good girl" and her almost psychotically hostile behavior towards guys lead me to believe there was some major trauma in her past or at least a very strong parental influence. You don't really see even super-smart girls act like that for no good reason. Intelligence doesn't automatically come with a chastity belt. Girls try to be "good" so hard mostly to compensate for something else. I thought maybe Autumn's fish stick incident affected Natalie to such an extent, but apparently she had been like that long prior.

It would also be nice to know what exactly Connor finds so attractive about Natalie. I liked him a lot, but I could never understand his initial interest in her. Natalie sure didn't appear to be charming in any way.

And then there is Spencer who uses her sexuality as a weapon. Wouldn't it be interesting to know who and how taught this 14-year old to act this way?

I keep comparing Not That Kind Of Girl to E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver books and it is clear that Lockhart is more subtle and plain better at writing on this subject, she is more embracing of multiple choices young women can make in regards to their sexuality. But still, Not That Kind Of Girl is not bad and is quite a page-turner after the trying first 100 pages or so. Too bad I can't quite agree with what this book teaches, but then again, is there a correct answer what is right and what is wrong in sex? I heard today on the radio about this married couple where wife is bi-sexual and is allowed to have a female lover on the side, while husband is obligated to be faithful to his wife (and is fine with this arrangement), so what do I know, right?

P.S. This cover doesn't do this book any favors.
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Reading Progress

January 13, 2011 – Shelved
January 31, 2011 – Started Reading
January 31, 2011 –
page 60
February 1, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011
February 1, 2011 – Shelved as: ya
February 1, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-14)

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Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Is schmexing really word of the month? Lol

Tatiana I've been using it for a while. Learned it on GR, naturally:)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Where else?! It's a great word, though. But my new favorite word is petunia. Schmexing, my petunia! There, see? Everybody knows what we're talking about.

Tatiana LOL! I sure do. It's our super-secret code!:)

Rosanne This cover makes me grateful for Kindles and 'book cosies'.

message 9: by EZRead (new)

EZRead eBookstore Rosanne, SO TRUE. So much trueness the universe just imploded.

Tatiana I think I have seen a million covers just like this one.

Cory Going Too Far for starters. Book cover designers put all their hearts into crappy books. Why?

Laura the Highland Hussy Great and insightful review :)

Angela Great review. I was delighted to pick this up at the library the other day after hearing so many good things about the "feminist message" it sends about sex and sexuality. I will go into reading it now with a bit more caution.

Tatiana I'd be interested to know your take on it. A book like this is great for a discussion IMO.

Angela @Tatiana: It may be a few weeks before I get around to reading it (too much school stuff before then), but I'll be sure to come back and share my input then. I do too love books that elicit good discussion. :)

Rosanne Perfect review of this book!

Ebehi The cover stopped me from reading the book until I saw a really good review about it.

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