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Going Vintage Hardcover – March 26, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-While the premise of Going Vintage appears to be the usual run-of-the-mill romantic fodder-girl is wildly in love with her boyfriend, boy cheats on girl, girl seeks to find herself-it becomes evident from the opening chapter that Leavitt is exploring new romantic territory here. When Mallory discovers that Jeremy has been cheating on her with "Bubbleyum," a girl he is "married" to in a virtual simulation game, she declares him to be a "tool" and swears off all 21st-century technology. She finds a list her grandmother made during her junior year of high school, in 1962, to guide a personal journey of self-discovery. How hard could it be to sew a homecoming dress, "find a steady," and become Pep Club secretary? Since Mallory can't sew, recently dumped her boyfriend, and doesn't even know what a Pep Club is, she ropes her sister and grandmother into helping her complete the list. Filled with humor and style, this title will capture teens' attention from the first page to the last. The characters are relatable, as are Mallory's situations. It's refreshing that the protagonist's resolve not to let Jeremy back into her life does not waiver and that she doesn't jump into another relationship to get over the old one. A quick, enjoyable read and an enchanting addition to the chick-lit genre.-Tammy Turner, Centennial High School, Frisco, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Mallory breaks up with her boyfriend, Jason, when she learns he has a “wife” on the website Authentic Life. This betrayal, along with the discovery of a to-do list her grandmother wrote when she was a 16-year-old, gives Mallory the idea to give up modern technology and other contemporary accoutrements until she can check off all the things on Grandma Vivian’s list. Start a pep club! Sew a prom dress! It isn’t easy, but Mallory throws herself into her project and learns more about herself and her family than she ever expected. Leavitt has found a fine hook on which to hang her story. The differences and similarities of two very different eras will intrigue readers, though it will probably be the interpersonal relationships—especially the one between Mallory and Jason’s cousin, Oliver—that will keep them turning pages. Mallory’s bond with her sister is also sweet and true. Told in Mallory’s amusing first-person voice, the story has a lot going on, but everything, from both time periods, gets neatly tied. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper
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Mallory finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her in a very 21st century way ... he has created a virtual character who is married to another virtual character. I guess that wouldn't normally be such a big deal, but Jeremy has found it easier to be emotionally connected in this virtual universe with this character than he is in real life with Mallory (another 21st century consequence that can come about when our lives are tied too heavily to our online personas). After storming out of his life, Mallory decides to go cold turkey and eliminate all modern technology from her life, going back to the life a girl her age might have had in 1962. Finding a list of tasks her grandmother wanted to complete at her age, Mallory decides to check off the items of this list in order to find a simpler, happier time. But Mallory finds that life in 1962 was not all puppies and roses. Things were complicated for her grandmother at that time as well. In the process of trying to pull herself through all of the relationship drama of her present life, Mallory instead finds a stronger, healthier, and more independent self.
This is a sweet story with a positive and important message. I enjoyed it, and I liked the characters of the book. I have to admit that Mallory's obsession with all things vintage got old pretty fast. I didn't really care for this part of the book at all, and unfortunately, that is a huge part of the book. Too many times I wanted to roll my eyes at Mallory's actions and say, "Just use the cordless phone already!!" Still, even though my modern self was annoyed with her a bit I could easily recognize the growth that Mallory was experiencing and the underlying themes of this story. She began this story as "Jeremy's girlfriend," spending her time kissing Jeremy and writing his papers for him, but by the end of the story she was just Mallory. She didn't need a boyfriend to define who she was. I really did love that about the story, and I do think it is a message that A LOT of high school girls could really benefit from understanding. Bonus ... I ADORED Oliver. He wasn't a rebound guy, but he was an important transitional character who was patient with Mallory as she tried to figure things out for herself ... patient enough that he got to win the girl in the end ... a healthier, stronger girl. Yea for that!
This one gets three stars because I liked it, and even though I wasn't a huge fan of the vintage angle of the story, I do think that the message of this book is an important one that would be good to read. If you have never read Lindsey Leavitt before I highly recommend her for cute, fun YA stories that capture the angst that really only can be found in the high school experience. Three stars!
But unplugging in a world where relationships have become dependent on social networking and internet research is easier said than done, particularly when Jeremy won't let her go and his handsome, hipster eccentric cousin Oliver loves to make her smile. Mallory's radical attempt to live in the 1960s may yield unexpectedly rich dividends, if only she can realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same -- and the love and life and living is a roller-coaster ride to be embraced, no matter the decade.
People, I loved this book so much I read it in a DAY. ONE DAY, people. Where was Lindsey Leavitt when I was in high school? This book! Mallory's love affair with the past could so be MY LIFE. Much like the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris, Going Vintage gently forces those of us who love the past, who might tend to idealize it, to not live in the past -- but rather use the lessons of the same to enrich one's present. It's all about balance, right? Mallory is a delightfully relatable heroine, sure to find a friend with anyone who has ever longed to "unplug" or been burned by society's increasing obsession with social -- and oft-times superficial -- networking. Mallory's hunger for something real, something substantive, flies in the face of everything she's been taught to believe and accept as the norm in a world that praises conformity as a prerequisite for acceptance.
It's so refreshing to read such an honest, generally positive portrait of family life. Mallory's family is far (FAR) from perfect, but Leavitt makes sure that their conflicts and disagreements never overshadow the bottom line -- that they love each other and are committed to making the respective spousal, parent/child, and sibling relationships work. Even the awkward "birds and the bees" talk is given a refreshingly honest, poignant spin, as Mallory discovers and copes with the fallout from giving "pieces" of herself to another. Even physical actions on the more "innocent" end of the spectrum -- kisses and embraces -- are shown to foster an emotional commitment and connection that have consequences when the relationship implodes. And in Mallory's case, the dawning realization that she's given of herself and received nothing in return -- that she has no sense of individuality outside of a relationship -- is the driving impetus for her self-imposed media fast and journey towards self-discovery and emotional wholeness.
Though Mallory wisely determines to know herself before entering into a new relationship, the seeds of the same planted early in her post-Jeremy life are perfectly realized. Oliver is quite possibly one of the best heroes I've read this year -- quirky, funny, and adorably authentic, I loved how he was determined to know the real Mallory, not the online version whose life was defined by quick, bullet-point "updates." Going Vintage is a total charmer, a sweet coming-of-age story that balances its deftly realized exploration of the importance of knowing oneself and finding balance in personal relationships with a healthy dose of warmth and humor. Within the pages of Going Vintage Leavitt delivers the perfect summer read -- fast-paced, light and breezy fun with an unexpectedly poignant, valuable lesson subtly woven throughout Mallory's journey. Very well-done -- Leavitt is an author to watch!