by Lindsey Leavitt
To be published by Bloomsbury Teen
on March 26, 2013
Source: e-ARC via NetGalley for possible review.
Connect with the author: blog : Facebook : Twitter.
Summary (adapted from Goodreads:) When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.
My take: This book really put a smile on my face. I must admit, I started it with a small amount of trepidation. I'd heard great things about Sean Griswold's Head, an earlier book by this author, but after the first chapter of Going Vintage I began to worry about the premise, afraid I might get some lecture about the evils of modern technology. Not at all -- Going Vintage was sweet, thought-provoking, and just a whole lot of fun.
One of the things I really liked about Going Vintage is that Mallory, the main character, isn't a typical YA character at all. No supernatural powers, no amnesia, no superhuman fighting skills. She's not super-smart, super-gorgeous, or super-anything: athletic, talented, ambitious, popular, unpopular, rebellious etc. etc. She's just a regular girl who's trying to figure her life out. When she discovers that her boyfriend is (virtually) cheating, she blames the internet and swears off modern technology entirely. No computer, no cell phone, nada. This did seem a tad impulsive and farfetched, but Mallory's family also runs a business reselling old stuff, and they're in the process of packing up her grandma's house and moving her to a condo, so Mallory does have a preoccupation with the past, and thus decides that everything in the 1960s must have been simpler and better.
I think that lot of people get caught up in the whole "grass is greener" idea and fail to appreciate what they have, so I was getting myself all worked up over Mallory's somewhat harebrained theory. My kids love watching old Brady Bunch episodes, but I never fail to point out to them that all six of those Brady kids share one bathroom. The horror! (Then again, Mrs. Brady seems to do nothing but pose around in groovy clothes and watch Alice do all the housework.) I shouldn't have been worried. Going Vintage definitely challenges Mallory's idea that the 60s was all perfect and idyllic, looking at both technology and social issues then and now.
But Going Vintage isn't just about the 1960s versus the 2010s. It's about keeping secrets from those you love, about figuring out where you belong in the world, and about family. I've vented before about all those dysfunctional YA parents, and I was thrilled to see that Mallory has a realistic, present, multi-generational family. Mallory's sister, Ginnie, was a fantastic, hilarious character, and I loved the relationship between the two of them. Mallory's grandmother was complex and interesting in a way that older adults usually aren't allowed to be in YA. Mallory's parents have a hot and cold relationship that their daughters don't entirely understand.
And then there are the boys: one boy that Mallory ended up with just because he showed up and wanted to be her boyfriend, and another boy that we get to see her slowly connect with, first as friends, and then as possibly more. This part of the book was absolutely charming and I'm officially adding Oliver Kimball to my list of YA Boys I Wish I'd Known In High School. Their relationship was just a perfect blend of adolescent awkwardness and the magic of first love.
I definitely recommend Going Vintage to fans of contemporary YA, of stories about sisters, of stories about love and empowerment.