Review: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

 

Title: Going Vintage

Author:  Lindsey Leavitt

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to "go vintage" and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma’s list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy’s cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she’ll get it done. Somehow.

Lindsey Leavitt perfectly pairs heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.


Review:

I am definitely torn about Going Vintage.  The premise sounded fun and unique, and I enjoy Lindsey Leavitt’s breezy narrative style.  Once I started reading, though, I had a hard time sympathizing with Mallory.  It’s obvious that she and Jeremy are not a match made in heaven, that their relationship has very little actual substance behind it, and that they are better off looking for someone who they can be themselves with.  It’s not even that either of them is pretending to be someone or something else when they are together,  but they lack the ability to communicate in any meaningful way.  Each of them keeps the most important pieces of themselves closely guarded, reluctantly sharing bits here and there.  Their entire relationship revolves around helping each other with homework, eating lunch together at school, and making out.  These are not the keys to a lasting, committed relationship.

When Mallory discovers that Jeremy has a cyberwife in the online sim game he’s playing, she blows a gasket.  When she discovers that he’s been emailing her in real life, and worse, opening up about himself to this mysterious BubbleYum, she’s had enough.  Jeremy is a tool (which she splashes on his Friendspace page with disastrous results), and she’s done with him and modern technology.  As people online let their feelings about the breakup known, Mallory is so over everything.  To galvanize her new tech free life, she discovers a list that her grandmother created when she was Mallory’s age.  She wonders if her grandmother accomplished her bullet list, and decides that she is going to live life like it’s a simpler time – 1962 to be exact, and complete every item on her grandmother’s list.

I was frustrated with the pacing of this book.  Events moved too slowly for my taste, with Mallory constantly re-iterating her intention to give up technology. No cell phone, no texting, no email, no Google.  Some of her tech-free rules just seemed so silly and arbitrary to me, and since she didn’t really communicate with anyone but her younger sister, giving up her communication options just isolated her even more.   The adults in Mallory’s life didn’t seem to have much time or interest to spare for her, at least not at first.  I was so irritated with the lot of them, especially her mom.

What I did enjoy about Going Vintage is how the important people in Mallory’s life re-forge  lasting, emotional connections with her.  Her family bonds are strengthened, and in the process, she learns that being a teenager in any time isn’t easy.  The same pitfalls exist in any decade.  Everyone has challenges and secret pieces that they don’t want to share.  When Mallory finds out that both her grandmother and her mother have secrets they are hiding, she has to accept that everyone makes mistakes, even the creator of her beloved list.  The romance with Oliver is sweet but a long time in developing.  Because of misconceptions and her rage at Jeremy, Mallory almost misses out on her second chance at love, this time with someone who “gets” her. 

Overall, I enjoyed Going Vintage.  I just wish the List wasn’t mentioned endlessly, and that the pace was a bit less leisurely. 

Grade:  C+ / B-

Review copy provided by publisher