Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
I know that I truly truly love a book when it comes time to write the review and my head is all scrambly because there is just so much there I want to say and I can't get it written down fast enough or in a coherent way. So suffice it to say...I pretty much LOVED This Girl is Different by JJ Johnson. I am very cautious not to read any reviews of the books I receive to review because I want to be able to read the book without any external factors influencing what I think of it. After I finished reading this and checked out the GoodReads rating, I was completely shocked to see that people either absolutely hated it or loved it. But hopefully those negative reviews will not be enough to deter you from reading this book because really it is SO worth it.
The Good: Wow. There are so many good things to say about this novel. I loved that every chapter started with a famous quote that weaved itself nicely into the chapter. By the end of the chapter, you knew exactly why that quote was chosen and many of them happen to be my very favorite quotes. Very early on the main character, Evie says quite matter-of-factly to herself, "This girl is different," and she truly is. This is the YA adult novel that every teenager should read. Evie is type of girl that every young woman should aspire to be. She is insanely smart, well spoken, literate, interesting, witty, curvy, self-aware, confident, respectful yet rebellious. She is totally one of the coolest characters I've met. I want to be Evie Morningdew! I also thought the relationship between Evie and her mother, Martha was way awesome. Do many kids have a relationship like they do? No. Do most kids wish they did? Hell yeah. One of the BIGGEST reasons we read YA novels is to be reminded of both the things we can relate to AND the things that are abnormal. I love that this book mixes it up so nicely. The characters are in high school and the author does a great job of keeping the language, actions and culture of high schoolers in tact while maintaining the intelligence that many YA novelists seem to forget when writing about teenagers. I love that the author made it so cool to be different, to buck authority and to question everything. I think there are so many YA readers out there who view themselves as weird, misfits or outcasts and if they read this book they would see that embracing that part of yourself is SO MUCH BETTER than trying to hide it. The romance between the main characters was so real and palpable. I can remember feeling the exact same way about my first love that Evie does. I thought Rajas was a well rounded and pretty "real" male character. I would have dated him if I was in high school. I bounced back and forth with Evie's friend Jacinda. She definitely was the quintessential "High School Teenager" in this novel. What most people would view as a "normal" teenager. I liked her, but compared to Evie's sharp tongue and intelligence she just kind of seemed like she was jealous Evie was so cool. The book also highlights some of the scary things that happen in high school like teachers crossing boundaries...whether its verbal abuse, sexual harassment or intimidation. I read this book in one sitting because I absolutely could not get enough.
Bad: I really don't have anything bad to say about this novel. Again I'm shocked that it didn't receive as many great reviews because I loved it.
I don't even need to say it, but I'm giving this novel a A+. I would recommend this to any YA reader...especially those who are actually teenagers and want to feel like you can actually relate to the characters.
**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.