Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt [ tweet | web ]
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: technology, 1962, internet relationships, strong family and sibling relationships
Format read: ARC received via NetGalley (Thank you!)
Summary: Mallory feels betrayed after she finds out her boyfriend, Jeremy, has been cheating on her with an online girlfriend named BubbleYum. This deception and a list she finds written by her grandmother in 1962 inspires her to abandon all things technological to simplify her life and live like they did fifty years ago.
Going Vintage is one of those books that’s right up my alley. Take a hypothetical situation — throwback to the 1960s and remove everything technological — and see how it plays out in a character’s life. Unfortunately for Mallory, she decides to make this monumental change after she discovers her boyfriend of over a year, Jeremy, has been cheating on her with a girl online. (That he’s never met in person, and oh, her online name is BubbleYum.) Mallory’s upset and distressed because Jeremy connects with BubbleYum in this deep and emotional way she was never able to with him. Mallory got the physical side of Jeremy and a little bit of notoriety at school for being his girlfriend, but … she wanted more.
Because of a douchey move Jeremy makes online, their break-up turns into a scandalous affair. When Mallory takes off to her help her dad pack-up her grandmother’s house (because she’s moving into a fancy, high-class nursing home), she turns off her phone to have a weekend in peace. Tucked in an old journal of her grandmother’s, she finds a list Grandma Vivien wrote when she was a junior in high school. Upon consulting with her younger sister and best friend, Ginnie, Mallory decides to accomplish the things on the list by pretending it’s 1962 all over again.
This means big changes for Mallory. And a lot of growth as a character. Mallory realizes after the break-up that much of her identity was wrapped up in Jeremy — who she hung out with, what she did on the weekends, who she sat with at lunch, etc. At some point, she mentions that in a 24/7 time period, when she was dating Jeremy, 20/6 of that time was spent with him. By saying adios to her phone and computers, she’s got a lot of time to fill. The List challenges her to do things like “run for pep club secretary” or “sew a dress for homecoming.” Mallory’s school doesn’t even have a pep club so she has to plead for her student council to approve the new club. One unsuspecting person who takes an interest in pep club is Jeremy’s cousin, Oliver.
Mallory has all of these preconceived ideas about what a “hipster” Oliver is (based on Jeremy’s very strong opinions of him). Oliver is a guy who is very comfortable in his own skin and doesn’t care what other people think. He doesn’t feel the need to “belong” and he speaks his mind. With little time to get the pep club on its feet, Mallory and Oliver spend time talking, shopping, and planning their float for the homecoming parade. Mallory realizes that she’s more herself than she ever was with Jeremy — Oliver understands her jokes, thinks she’s funny, and appreciates her quirkiness. He’s kind, a great listener, and makes a few simple moves that made my heart pitter patter. (Did I mention Oliver was my favorite character?) But Mallory’s afraid to fall too fast. And um, for Jeremy’s cousin? That could stir up some drama.
Going Vintage definitely has a cute and catchy plot with all the twists and turns along the way as Mallory sorts things out, but there’s a lot more that really makes things come alive. Mallory is super close to her family, especially Ginnie, who holds Mallory accountable to The List and strips her room of anything that wasn’t invented in 1962. Her parents run a business together that causes them to bicker and worry a lot (…and then to have some very public displays of affection that embarrass Ginnie and Mallory when they make up). Her mom seems to be hiding a big secret and Ginnie has suspicions about what it might be so she takes on this role to “save the family.” Grandma Vivien is feisty and I loved seeing her as a central character to the story because so rarely are grandparents even mentioned.
Despite some moments when Mallory said some things that didn’t sit well with me (she was a bit judgmental and overly opinionated in the beginning), I enjoyed Going Vintage. I want to put copies of this book in the hands of some of my friends who place entirely too much emphasis on their online lives and forget to go out and live and experience and do things. Maybe, like Mallory, if we minimized our lives, we’d grow and be challenged, too.