Friday, October 24, 2014

Novel Review: Not That Kind Of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Rating (Out of 5): ~3-3.5
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Push (Scholastic)
Release Date: 2010
Spoilers?: Not really.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Slut or saint? Good friend or bad friend? In control or completely out of it?

Life is about making choices, and Natalie Sterling prides herself on always making the right ones. She’s avoided the jerky guys populating her prep school, always topped honor roll, and is poised to become the first female student council president in years.

If only other girls were as sensible and strong. Like the pack of freshmen yearning to be football players’ playthings. Or her best friend, whose crappy judgment nearly ruined her life.

But being sensible and strong isn’t easy. Not when Natalie nearly gets expelled anyway. Not when her advice hurts more than it helps. Not when a boy she once dismissed becomes the boy she can’t stop thinking about.

The line between good and bad has gone fuzzy, and crossing it could end in disaster . . . or become the best choice she’ll ever make.

The Cover:

I don't like this cover. The close-up of the two kissing just looks tacky and I don't like looking at it. Maybe it's supposed to represent the meaning that it doesn't matter what someone does, you shouldn't peer that close at someone's sexual life--and if so, I like that. But mostly I think it doesn't fit this book.

  • "That’s the thing with secrets—you can’t explain yourself. The only thing you’re left able to say is sorry—again and again.” (Paperback, pg. 235)
  • "'You see, the best thing about wrong decisions is that they don’t prevent you from making the right decisions later on. It’s harder, but it’s not impossible.’” (Pg. 312)
  • "It didn’t matter if I was the kind of girl who had sex, or the kind of girl who had her portrait on a wall in the library, or the kind of girl who got into the best college, or the kind of girl who teachers loved.
    I just needed to be okay with all the kinds of girl I was.”
    (Pg. 317)


I think maybe I had too high of expectations for this book. I was expecting a very good book, with a very impressive girl-power message. That’s not how it seemed to me.
On the bright side, the writing was good. And the characters were fleshed out, at least mostly. The storyline wasn’t too bad.
First of all, I did not like the main character. Natalie drove me crazy. At first, I was looking forward to her learning her lesson, but about halfway through the book, she was just getting on my nerves. She’s cocky, too confident, very what-I-think-is-right, thinking that everyone should make the “right” decision, and no matter what, what she thinks it right. I just wanted to smack her.
Then there’s the girl message. And I do think that Natalie learned that women shouldn’t be put down for sex, but I don’t really think the message was driven home as much as it could have. She really only seemed to think about it like she should, after she met a guy and fooled around and people looked at her differently. I don’t think it was pushed enough that it doesn’t matter what you’re doing—if you’re having sex, married or not, pregnant young, or a virgin—because all of it is okay. None of it shameful or “wrong”. Natalie thought about it only after having sex and being bullied because of it; then there’s Spencer, who thinks that manipulating men is the right way to go, and I don’t think she fully learned anything either. Autumn, I think, had the right idea, though; she’d smarted up in the right way. There’s also Natalie’s teacher, who is so prejudiced, and yet nothing really came of her opinion but frustration.
Mostly, I think the message was good, I just don’t think it reached the full-fleshed direction it was going.
Then there was the romance. Natalie and Connor start fooling around, and Natalie is the one who’s making it hard. But I think they jumped into it too quickly—I mean, they made eye-contact and seemed to just feel a strong attraction, when I didn’t really feel that. And everything that Natalie does with Connor, changing her mind and having sex with him, just didn’t seem to make sense to me. I just didn’t feel very much chemistry between them, so it didn’t work for me. I wanted it to, but it didn’t.
I wanted to love this book. I really, really did. But instead I’m a little disappointed. I do want to pick up another of Vivian's books, though. I think maybe a different character, at least, could have made this story better, so I hope to see what else she does.

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