Book Review - Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Friday November 5, 2010

Not That Kind of Girl
by Siobhan Vivian
September 1, 2010
Push, Scholastic Press
Goodreads Summary: Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things. 

But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you want to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.

Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

Why I liked it...Underneath all the romance and teen angst in this story lies the heart of a feminine kick-ass heroine. Natalie, like a lot of teenage girls, is extremely conscious of how people (especially  her teachers) perceive her. She is giving it her all to be the best at everything...schoolwork, class president, friend and mentor. All of her best intentions are blown to bits when she falls for a guy who doesn't exactly fit into her perfect plans. Natalie finds herself taking chances that she never, ever thought she would take and when she ends up in a fight with her best friend she feels her whole world falling apart.

Well, I also have to mention the romance part :) the writer does an excellent job of making the heart all aflutter as Connor and Natalie secretly meet to spend time together. Watching (well, reading) as Natalie falls for Connor despite her unwillingness to do so is bittersweet and I found myself rooting for her to give Connor a chance.

Characters....The ones I really like the most in addition to Natalie are Spencer, freshman to Natalie's senior who Natalie used to babysit. Spencer is a whirlwind of girl who has come to wield her sexuality as a weapon. In her bid to prove how unfair it is that boys who sleep around are cool and girls who do are "sluts", Spencer learns that stereotypical norms are hard to change. I also had some appreciation for Ms. Bee...I'm not sure if you had one, but I did...that female teacher who was adamant about being a "Ms." and who promoted the feminine agenda with a vengeance. Ms. Bee's affection for Natalie is genuine but her desire for her to be a replication of herself is a tough standard for Natalie to live up to...and does she even want to?

Final thoughts...I really enjoyed this book and I think its a great read for any teenage girl. As much as we want to deny it, the feelings of love and desire are expressed by both boys and girls, but sadly it's our girls who get branded with the Scarlett letter when things go bad. Natalie is a great example of a teen who comes to terms with who she wants to be and the reality of how life sometimes gets in the way.

Favorite quote from the book..."I had always known what kind of girl I was...until I didn't."-Natalie

Best for high school due to sexual situations