Monday, January 6, 2014
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
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. (from GoodReads)
There was a lot going on in Not That Kind of Girl and a lot of messages were presented. Events and relationships weren't always developed properly, but this book was a real page turner. I couldn't put it down!
Natalie is a pretty awesome character. She's strong, smart and hard-working. She wants to be class president and believes in female empowerment. I loved that about her. She doesn't like that many girls at her private school are boy-crazy and she's seen how boys can hurt girls. However, Natalie's worldview is damaged (shattered is too strong a word) when she starts having feelings for Connor, even after she vowed to live a boy-free life.
What I really liked about this book was the author's opposing feminist messages. There's some people (this includes Natalie) that think women shouldn't be concerned with romance, should dress appropriately and not let men rule their feelings. Then there's the camp that touts sex positivity, that women should be able to own their sexuality and wear whatever they want, no matter how revealing. There is a bit of a push and pull between these two groups in real life and that was evident in this book. Natalie is the former, and the majority of the girls in her school are the latter. So Natalie has to learn (via her relationship with Connor) that it's okay to explore your sexuality and it doesn't make you less deserving of respect or dignity. That's an important message that many girls and boys don't receive.
The only problem I had with Not That Kind of Girl was the relationship between Natalie and Connor. I liked Connor a lot, but hooking up was the extent of their interaction. They didn't talk that much and their relationship was pretty undeveloped. I would like to see the reasons why she's in love with him. That part got lost in the myriad of subplots present in this book.
Overall I really couldn't put this book down. It has some great messages and explores different feminist ideologies in an easy to digest format. It's a great and enlightening read.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.