Not That Kind Of Girl
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Some books when you read them have such an astounding impact upon the reader that you cannot stop thinking about them or talking about them. This book is one such book. I realized some things while reading this book - the curriculum I read in high school was dominated by male authors, even those I read as my picks were all male authors. I was about 25 before I read any female authors for leisure. At the time, my girlfriend and I each picked 5 books the other had to read. Since then, I have discovered a plethora of female authors that I appreciate and admire. Yet even at that, it was not until reading this book that I realized that I was learning a woman's perspective, and the impact of actions that, at the time, may seem inconsequential. This book will reveal to male readers the impact their actions can have, and for women it will show them some people they can relate to, and maybe help them understand themselves better.
The story takes place at Ross Academy, a private school. Natalie Sterling is a senior and prides herself on always making the right choices. She knows that bad choices can haunt you for years. Her best friend is an example of that. But Natalie has it all planned out - win the student Council election, be class president, write the SATs and go to a college far away. But somewhere along the way her plans start to go sideways, as with Spencer Biddle, a freshman Natalie tries to help. Natalie wants Spencer to start making better decisions, and mapping out her life. But Spencer's life is almost ruined when nude pictures of her circulate around the school.
The story follows the students at the Ross Academy through the first term of the school year. It is incredibly well-written. It will transport the reader to high school. You will encounter people like those you know or knew in school. The groups, clicks, pranks and jokes will all seem so familiar it is stunning. The characters are real and well portrayed. The impact of even the smallest actions or words can have long-lasting effects and like a rock once thrown in the pond cannot ever be taken back.
What I learned most from this book, was that if I had read books like this when I was younger, I would have had a greater sense of the impact of my actions. Therefore I would have hurt a lot fewer people in my life, especially the women I interacted with. In the book, Natalie Sterling learns to really understand who she is; she learns to be good at being. And in following her through her journey, we can learn to be better at those things also. It is a great novel and I highly recommend it.
(First published in Imprint 2010-07-16.)
Book by Siobhan Vivian:
A Little Friendly Advice
Not That King of Girl
Vunce Upon A Time
Author Profile interview with Siobhvan Vivian.