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Girl Paperback – October 23, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sans obscenities, this first novel by Details writer Nelson could be YA fiction at the very top of the genre. As it follows the highly sympathetic narrator named Andrea through her junior and senior years of high school in Portland, Ore., the novel speaks the language of most of this age group: "And I had been so good in the last week at blocking Todd out of my mind but now it all came rushing back, how great it was to be with him, that great feeling of being free and having great talks and being a million miles away from mean stupid people like Trevor." The brand-name litanies, beloved of older writers trying too hard to capture adolescent language, are thankfully absent. Andrea's candid and surprisingly sweet monologue, uncondescendingly records a world of clothes anxieties, coolness consciousness and her confusing mix of tender, erotic and angry feelings toward alternative rocker, downtown big shot and on-and-off lover Todd Sparrow. While making Andrea neither victim nor victimizer, Nelson captures this young woman's fears and joys in subtle and often uncannily accurate ways as Andrea aches for consistency but still revels in life's indeterminacies. Ultimately, the swear words and awkward sex scenes make the novel a more accurate recording of contemporary adolescence. One of the strengths of the novel is that it falls into an interesting genre purgatory that simultaneously critiques the strictures of current YA fiction while it exposes the unattractive jadedness of much adult fiction.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A hyperactive debut novel of teen rebellion by a writer who watched too much MTV. When Andrea is a Portland, Oreg., high school sophomore, her friend Cybil calls her from the mall one day, frantic because she has shaved her head and it looks awful. Cybil then forms a rock band and begins to infiltrate the local music scene. At the same time, Andrea first lays eyes on Todd, a rock guru and all-round cute guy. Initially, Andrea is somewhat involved in high school goings-on and dates a popular older jock, but she begins to rebel by going to clubs to see Cybil's band (first named Bed Head, then Thriftstore Apocalypse, and finally Sins of Our Fathers) and buying vintage clothing. Andrea narrates her story (which reads like a diary, although it is not marked as such) breathlessly, and that energy is exhausting as she details all the superficial particulars of her life but fails to comment much on her own emotional state. One of Andrea's happiest moments comes when Cybil steers her and a friend to a clothing store called HOP!, ``the coolest place.'' Occasionally there are astute na‹ve-narrator insights (``the whole fun of high school is that everything is supposed to be everybody's business''), but more often than not, Andrea's teenspeak sounds like a bad Valley Girl parody (``And she tried to be cool but we were both like, Derek and Jonathan are gay!''). Nelson (who has written for Details magazine) does manage to cover early sexual experiences (both voluntary and involuntary) in a natural way, but Andrea's all-consuming crush on Todd is a drag on forward momentum, and Cybil--supposedly the narrator's closest friend--remains a cipher for much of the story. This may appeal more to the young- adult market, but those readers are sure to be extremely sensitive to any slips in authenticity. Like, not so great. (First serial to Sassy) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (October 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416948031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416948032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Early into my teenage years, I grew disenchanted with the "young adult" fiction that was on the market. I just could not relate to those twins of Sweet Valley, nor to their counterparts in other teen novels. NO ONE lives their lives the way those characters did! I enjoyed reading, and it was a big disappointment not to be able to identify with any fictional characters of my age group. (I often wonder if this is why so few teens like to read). Two years ago, long after I moved into my 20s, I found "Girl", and was completely blown away. I didn't think it was possible that Andrea could be purely the creation of Blake Nelson's mind. She speaks like a real 16 year old, experiences things that happen to real 16 year olds, and has friends who are like the ones real 16 year olds have (I want to meet Cybil! I wish I had known her when I was in high school). I'm sure that many parents and teachers would like to believe that their little ones do not say or do the things that Andrea does in "Girl" (what first sparked my curiosity about this book was reading a review in a magazine in which the critic said this would be a good young adult novel if not for the graphic language), but you need only spend half an hour in a high school cafeteria to understand that there is nothing in this novel that any teenager is not already aware of. Many readers have expressed amazement that Blake Nelson, a man, could capture so perfectly the essence of a young woman. I admire him for this too, but am even more impressed to find an adult writer who still remembers what it's like to be a teenager, and can make others remember as well.
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Format: Paperback
This book automatically gets five stars just because it was written so well in the voice of a teenage girl by a grown man. Not a moment rings false as you delve into the life of Andrea Marr, a high school girl coming of age in the early nineties "grunge" of Portland. She faces the familiar pratfalls of life, including all that is important to a teenager...boys, friends, school, clothes, music and sex. Everything is fresh and real; just reading it can take you back to the day when you yourself were sixteen and every single moment contained so much importance and angst.
Blake Nelson nails his portrayal of a teenage girl dead on. I still find it hard to believe, like other reviewers here, that this story was written by a man. 'Girl' reads like a few years of a personal diary, one that the author of such diary never really meant for anyone but herself to see. Andrea grows realistically, not from a good girl gone bad overnight, but as a true person finding herself and her identity. If this means making new friends who shave their heads, shop at thrift stores and start their own bands, then so be it. As the books states, it's only a brief glimpse into her life. Who knows what happened after high school?
I was lucky enough to actually get to read this while I was still in high school myself. While it is not difficult to get into or terribly deep, it rings so true to real life that it is impossible to put down. Just reading it again can transport you back to your youth. A highly recommended book.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this book 10 years ago, when I was 15 years old. I just finished it again for the 21st time. Yes that is right, I have read Girl, by Blake Nelson 2 times a year for 10 years.
When I started reading this book I instantly felt like someone finally understood me. I was young, dating an older musician and going to night clubs instead of school dances. Yet at the same time there was a part of me that wanted to be like everyone else, studying, joining school clubs, getting ready for college.
Andrea Marr completely encapsulates the most common teenage fears and desires. The desire to find love, to be different yet accepted. To find freedom from both your parents and school. The desire to figure out WHO you are, by constantly changing.
When you read Girl you will find that it is not like reading a book, it is like you are reading 3 years worth of a teenagers diary. Boyfriends, break ups, friendships fading and changing. Surprizingly honest and heartfelt. By the end you will feel like Andrea Marr is your best friend. I am amazed at how well Blake Nelson takes on the voice of a 16 year old teenage girl. I only wish he had written a sequel, because I would love to know what Andrea is up to now.
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Format: Paperback
I happened upon GIRL about four or five years ago (at a buck a book, no less) and have reread it (or just parts of it) about a thousand times. This book reads like I (used to; hey, I'm not 16 anymore...)talk; run-on sentences replace unending spoken lamen- tations on guys, sex, shopping, guys, sex....you get the point. GIRL was a fabulous, if quick, read. How a man wrote this, I will never understand! The author paints a vivid truth not to the typical "teen-angst," but to how a teenage girl speaks, acts, and thinks (which is where the "typical teen-angst" usually developes, although most authors fail to realize that it is actually a response to emotional overhaul, not a common act of shallow rebellion, as it is often portrayed), which, especially from a guy, is pretty rare. Everything about the book I could relate to, mostly because I had done it or had known someone who had; even Andrea's revelations about the blatant differences about making love and being (because you're a woman) "f---ed" (which apparently made other readers realize that a MAN wrote the book)were right on. She's female and she realizes that, at some times, it can be a little disheartening in this modern-day, feminist era. Because she had these revelations does not make her weak, it was just something she REALIZED, as every woman on the planet might, and the fact that the author could portray this honestly helped make the character, and, ultimately, the book, that much more believable. Fun Fact: My friend who never "read for fun," picked up the book one night and could not put it down! She read about 50 pages right there in my room, before she went home and spent the rest of the night reading it! She could not believe how great the book was (and she really couldn't believe that a man had wrote it!)!
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