book review for Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Magan: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

book review for Going Vintage by Lindsey LeavittGoing Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt [ tweet | web ]
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 320
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.

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25 thoughts on “Magan: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

    • Magan says:

      Bookworm, I could not agree more with you about Ginnie. She was an amazing character! Their bond was so, so incredible. It’s rare to find siblings who love each other so much. Usually they bicker or dislike each other to the extreme. And Oliver? I could always use more Oliver. 😉

  1. Cynthia says:

    I’m glad to see that you enjoyed this one because I’ve been reading some mixed reviews and wasn’t so sure about it but now I think I’ll definitely give it a try. Great review Magan! =D

    • Magan says:

      Cynthia, I definitely understand the negatives that these mixed reviews have spoken of. Sure Mallory’s decision is quickly made and yes, her personality is a bit abrasive in the beginning, but I think she grows a lot from her experience. And OLIVER! Oliver and Ginnie save the day. Well, not literally, but they’re both amazing characters!

    • Magan says:

      Tara, there were a few things that I didn’t quite get in the beginning and Mallory’s personality was a little grating at first, but the more I thought about it after I finished it, the happier I was about reading it. Can’t wait to see what you think!

  2. VeganYANerds says:

    I have been waiting on this ever since I saw the adorable cover, so I am so happy you enjoyed it, Magan!

    The idea of switching off all modern tech is interesting, there was a tv show here that followed a family and they took all their technology away from them and started a particular decade and each week or month they would get new technology and move forward a decade, I think the kids found it really difficult.

    I like the sound of Oliver already, and Mallory even if she was a bit judgemental.

    • Magan says:

      Mandee, that’s awesome! That show sounds so interesting! I think I would definitely suffer a bit if I had to go through something like that. I rely heavily on technology! I’m glad you like Oliver. he and Ginnie were definitely my favorites! 🙂 I hope you enjoy Going Vintage!

    • Magan says:

      April, Oliver IS all sorts of fabulous. He was exactly the kind of boy I wanted to read about – intelligent, fun, caring, witty, a bit sarcastic. Ugh, so good. There are a few things that are like “huh” in the beginning that Mallory says or does, but I got over it. In the end, I thought the book had a good message and I, too, could use some time away from my computer every now and then. *face palm*

  3. Renae @ Respiring Thoughts says:

    My favorite part of this book was definitely the family relationships. I loved how flawed and real Mallory’s home life was, especially with her mom’s big secret and they way her parents acted around each other. Leavitt really nailed that portrayal for me. Otherwise, though, I didn’t care for Mallory as a main character, and though I think I liked Oliver, he wasn’t totally awesome. But still, realistic family dynamics go a long, long way with me.

    • Magan says:

      Renae, I agree family dynamics go a long way. It was a great depiction of home life without seeming too ideal or perfect. Mallory definitely had some flaws, but I feel she grew by the end. And Oliver, I liked him a lot. He was respectful and likeable and insightful. That doesn’t always happen with YA boys so it won me over. 🙂

  4. Alexa Y. says:

    This book sounds so cute! I definitely want to read it, if just to see how this crazy new change that she has going on plays out. Plus, the romance (the budding one) sounds really cute!

    • Magan says:

      Alexa, I hope you enjoy it. It’s definitely fun! Mallory goes through a transformation but it’s not overwhelming and in your face. I hope you enjoy!

  5. Lori says:

    I enjoyed this one, but I do wish that I could have loved it like I wanted to. The bond between the sisters was definitely my favorite part. They were so much fun.

    Have you read Sean Griswold’s Head yet? LOVED that one!

  6. Magan says:

    Jess — Mallory was definitely a unique character. So quirky and fun! I hope you love Going Vintage when you read it!

    Lori! — I haven’t read Sean Griswold’s Head yet. It’s totally on my TBR though! I’m so glad you loved it. 🙂

    Quinn — I definitely wouldn’t say Going Vintage was terrible. Mallory was a character that was hard to relate to in the beginning, and I think intentionally a little annoying, so we could see her grow and change. But swoon! Oliver! 🙂

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