Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review: "Vegan Virgin Valentine" by Carolyn Mackler

Mara Valentine is in control. She's a straight-A senior, a vegan, and her parents' pride and joy. She's neck-and-neck with her womanizing ex-boyfriend for number-one class ranking and plans to kick his salutatorian butt on her way out the door to Yale. Mara has remaining months in Brockport all planned out. The plan does not involve having V, her slutty, pot-smoking, sixteen-year-old niece - yes, niece - come to live with her family. Nor does it involve lusting after her boss at the local cafe or dreaming about grilled cheese sandwiches every night. Before Mara knows it, things are spinning wildly out of control...
Tonight I finished reading the YA novel "Vegan Virgin Valentine" by Carolyn Mackler. I'll admit that the story didn't grab me right away - in fact, I was tempted to stop reading it altogether simply because I disliked the main character of 17-year-old Mara Valentine so much. For me - an average student throughout my own school career - Mara's incredible overachieving was near nauseating. From combining college classes with her high school classes in order to enter college as a second-year student to the way she obsesses over her GPA in order to beat her ex-boyfriend for valedictorian, Yale-bound Mara wouldn't have been someone I'd ever be friends with.

Of course, as with any good novel, characters learn and grow throughout the story, so I stuck it out in the hopes that Mara would give me opportunity to genuinely like her. Thankfully, she did just that - and she grew in ways I hadn't expected, which was both beautiful and refreshing; by the end of the novel, I was downright applauding her, hoping that the story would keep going so I could see just how well this new and improved Mara Valentine would fare in the world that awaited her. Here's hoping that Carolyn Mackler brings Mara back for more some time in the future...

Note: This book was not given to me by BookSneeze; I won this book from Carolyn Mackler back in November 2011 and was under no obligation to review it.

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