Monday, March 25, 2013

ARC Review: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt


Title: Going Vintage 

Author: Lindsey Leavitt

Rating: 3 Stars

Release Date: March 26th, 2013

If you're looking for a book that is cute, fun, and a complete time-pass, Going Vintage is the book for you. If, however, you're hoping to get a little more depth from this novel, a little more insight into the life of a teenage girl, I'd suggest Melina Marchetta's Looking for Alibrandi instead. You see, Going Vintageisn't a bad book - not at all - but it's kind of silly. It seems like that from the cover and synopsis too, but I guess I was just expecting something a little more, especially with all the praise for this author. In other words, this was interesting and engaging, but ultimately, just kind of forgettable.

Going Vintage starts out with Mallory, the protagonist of our tale, discovering that her boyfriend, Jeremy, has an online girlfriend he's been cheating on her with. Upset over this obvious betrayal, Mallory decides to swear off of technology, which seems to be the bane of her existence at the present, and live life like her grandmother did in high school - vintage. Ever since finding her grandmother's high school yearbook - where her grandmother looked more than just a little happy - and a list of goals, Mallory decides to follow in her grandmother's footsteps and find happiness again. What she doesn't quite count on is the interest of Oliver, Jeremy's hipster (but VERY hot) cousin, family secrets, or even that a research paper could be so hard without the internet.

Within the first quarter of this novel, I considered dropping it on probably...three or four occasions. Really. Going Vintage gets off to a slow start, telling us of Mallory's messy break-up and then just...continuing on with it. We see Mallory's family, all which are important to the tale, but the real story doesn't really begin until we meet Oliver. Mallory and Oliver have known each other for awhile, but when Oliver helps Mallory form a pep club in their school and then finds out his cousin dumped her, he begins to hang out with her more and, surprisingly to her, Oliver actually gets Mallory. Unlike Jeremy, he understands her witty jokes and the two of them become close friends...until something even more begins to brew between them. What I love about the budding relationship between Mallory and Oliver is that it is solely based on conversation. We can see how compatible these two are from their discussions and understanding of one another and best of all, Oliver knows how to treat a girl right. Mallory, just through with a messy break-up, needs space, which Oliver truly respects. Without a doubt, this romance is very easily the best aspect of the novel.

Unfortunately, that's the only part of Going Vintage that is truly great. You see, family plays a big role in this book, which I appreciated, but it was a little...underplayed, I guess. Mallory, first of all, is a rather endearing protagonist, despite her silly habits. I found her relationship with her younger sister, Ginnie, to be charming, full of realistic squabbles and affection. Leavitt obviously attempts to build a bond between the women of this novel, establishing their solidarity; this is a more successful plan in the mind rather than on paper. Ginnie and Mallory have a complex relationship with their mother, who has a complex relationship with her husband, who in turn has a complex relationship with his mother. Ginnie and Mallory also have an ever-changing relationship with their grandmother and these threads were all set-up to come together perfectly - which they did - but without the desired effect.

...how to explain this? Looking for Alibrandi, Melina Marchetta's debut novel, is a perfect example of contemporary done brilliantly. Why? Well, it explores the life threads between three generations of women in a deep and heartfelt manner, truly touching the reader. Going Vintage attempts to do something similar with the family situation in this novel and while a valiant effort for sure, it doesn't even begin to compare to Marchetta. Nevertheless, what it does manage to do is establish the fact that although life may have seemed easier without technology in the past, it was still full of heartbreak and confusion. I love that Leavitt made this such a modern story as it really does appeal to today's teens and connect to issues that we all have with technology from time-to-time.

Ultimately though, I have to say that if you're used to reading deep, heartfelt contemporary, you might want to skip this. If you generally pick up a contemporary read for the romance, then you definitely don't want to miss the love story in this book - it's perfect. Yet, it wasn't enough to make up for the lack of connection and depth I felt with other aspects of this novel. It was a very cute story and sweet read, one that I don't regret spending time with, but I doubt I'll remember it for very long after.

17 comments:

  1. I've seen few reviews for this one and pretty much all say the same. This is interesting and funny book but nothing more than that. I think I'll follow your advice and read Melina's book instead :) Great review :)

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  2. I've been in two minds about this one. On one hand, the synopsis sounds quite cute (and I like the cover!) - on the other hand, it seems a bit more fluffy than my usual taste. Might save it for a day when I need something a lighter :) Lovely review, Keertana.

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  3. Oh it's a shame that you didn't enjoy this as much as you hoped Keertana, I get why you wanted something with a bit more depth and meaning and after reading Looking For Alibrandi, it's hard not to compare all contemporaries to it's awesomeness. But sometimes I'm in the mood for something a little light hearted and the romance sounds like something that I would enjoy. So I guess I would have to give this a go, when I'm in the right mood for it! Thanks for the honest review hun, at least now I'm aware of some of the issues you had with it!

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  4. Okay, all the reviews I've seen thus far have been 4s and 5s, so it's definitely good to see your more tempered reaction. Still want to read this because it does sound cute, but it's good to have realistic expectations. Thanks for your review, Keertana.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  5. Honestly, I still can't decide if I prefer deep and meaningful contemporary books, or light and fluffy ones. Still, I'm glad you reviewed this! I feel like I have a better sense of what to expect now if I ever decide to pick this up. It's interesting to hear you say that the romance was the best part, too. I know you don't admit that lightly! :) I'm in no rush to get to this, but I'll definitely keep in on the maybe list. Lovely review, Keertana!

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  6. I guess I was expecting pretty much no depth so I was surprised at what depth there was. I liked the more serious stuff, but loved the silliness. And I really loved the family stuff and the sister relationship. I guess I was going into it for fluff and didn't want to have to think to hard and this was just pure fun for me. So I guess it depends on what you're looking for. I'm glad you still enjoyed it!

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  7. Despite it not being the most brilliant of books, I still want to read this! I blame the adorable cover and I like the sound of the friendship and then romance with Oliver!

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  8. I agree this was sweet but not very memorable. Great review Keertana. :)

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  10. Looking for Alibrandi is by far my favorite Marchetta contemporary (not many would agree, I know) so I totally get what you're saying. On the other hand, I'm actually in the mood for something silly, as stupid as that sounds. After reading a few dystopias in a row and ending with Clockwork Princess, I need a feel-good read that won't take up too much of my brainpower.
    I think I'll like Mallory very much, actually.
    Great review, darling.

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  11. Almost every review I have seen for this has been a 3. Oh, and I loved Looking for Alibrandi so I can't read that instead because I already did! So I don't know what I'm gonna do. Part of me wants to read this anyway because I was so looking forward to it (and I love fun contemporaries) but I have a feeling I will be disappointed like you were. I think I may have to put this one on hold for now. Even if I did buy it, it would take some time before I could fit it into my schedule. Great review, Keertana. You've given me lots to think about.

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  12. It sounds like you're bibliovangelizing Looking for Alibrandi just a bit in this review. :) For all the reasons that you've mentioned, I'm not very interested in reading Going Vintage. I generally tend to gravitate towards books that are a little meatier and thought-provoking than this sounds. This doesn't sound bad - just not my type of book. I do need to read Looking for Alibrandi at some point - as well as most of Marchetta's works still.

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  13. Yeah, this was sweet but a bit more fluffy than I thought it was going to be. Maybe it was meant for younger readers and we're in a place where it doesn't do anything for us. Read her other book though. It is amazing.

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  14. I've heard lots of great things about this one! To be quite honest, I think this is the first review I've seen for this book that's not completely praising it, haha. I'm very excited to see the fantastic romance between Mallory and Oliver. Their conversations sound great, and I love when romance builds between verbal things, rather than physical. I'll make sure to expect just a light read from this one. Thanks for the review, Keertana!

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  15. This one does sound fun, which is what I've heard from most people and whilst it might be lacking some depth, I definitely think I'll give it a try.

    Fab review, dearest! :)

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  16. Wonderful review, my friend! What you've described has pretty much convinced me that this one isn't for me. It's rare that I pick up a contemp, and so I really like those deep emotional connections when I do, even in 'fun' reads I need something more than just the romance--particularly when a generational thing is really at the book's core. I wish this had done it better, it DOES look really cute, but I'll be skipping it.

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  17. Aw, bummer that this one didn't work for you. I have it on my Kindle so I will be giving it a try but having recently read and loved Looking for Alibrandi (I REALLY need to write that review) I am afraid I will be comparing GV to that book now. But you know, not everyone can write a book like Melina Marchetta ( they can only WISH) so I'm willing to try it out anyway:) Enjoyed your thoughts as always:)

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