I've got a giveaway to go with today's YA Friday review, and not just the book, but some swag too!
Without further ado, I give you Everything Must Go- A Novel by Jenny Fran Davis. To enter the giveaway fill in the rafflecopter form below. If you don't see it, click 'read more'.
She takes the ultimate step, when, before the end of her sophomore year, she requests a transfer to the next school he'll be teaching at, Quare Academy. Quare is a hippie, feminist school that focuses on basic living and ultra liberal ideals.
Too bad Elijah decides at the last minute not to teach there! Now, Flora is stuck in hippie land with her Upper East Side fashion sense and beauty routines. With promises that he'll come at Christmas, Flora stays at the school and tries to fit in, but things are far from easy. When he does finally show-up, it changes everything, and Flora most find out who she really is and learn what life is truly about.
This book has so many different nuances, but boils down to a coming of age story. Flora takes a journey as she grows from child to adult. Her story is relatable and heartfelt, full of prime moments and first love.
However, I had a hard time getting into the story. Let's start with plot. Flora leaves her private prep school to follow free-spirited Elijah. This idea didn't hook me, but okay, this might happen, but then the school she goes to is so bizarre, on the edge of feminist radicalism. Girls peeing in the grass and wearing tattered clothing. I almost put the book down because it was just too much (though in some ways funny because it showed the flaw in all extremist beliefs).
I was afraid Flora would change everything about herself to become an ultra feminist. Luckily, I kept reading, and this was not the case. Flora uses everything that happens to her to realize that a little bit of everything is who she is. Yes! Moderation. A great awakening of truth. She has aspects of many different beliefs inside of her.
Let's go to comprehension. The story is told through a series of journal entries, letters, emails and other means. Often I had a hard time figuring out who was talking to who and why? In the story, Flora has put together a memoir using her own and others information. It is how the reader is able to be in other character's heads. It just got overwhelming for me. I would often back track to reread email headings. Plus, events would occur, be mentioned briefly (like hey, I had sex) and then the story moves on, only to bring back the subject and fully explain it later in Flora's letters.
Now, character. Flora's life is colorful and the story is full of her voice. As a reader, you get a good feel for all of the characters, their stories and their goals, but something is lacking. I felt like a stranger looking into their lives, which made empathy hard. I knew everything, because Flora writes it all in her journals, but I just couldn't connect deeply to her character.
I think people will either love this book or be slightly confused at their feelings. I'm giving it 3 stars!
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"Let me pause here and say that I know this seems like the whitest, most bourgeoisie shit ever. I mean, a hipster fashion blog in which I dress in clothes from 1958? Please don’t lose heart, readers. This was my old life, remember. It’s as painful for me to relive this time as it is for you to hear about it, if not more so.
Anyway, I was his muse, but he wasn’t in love with me. Or was he? Therein lay the problem. He wanted to follow me around the city, photographing me in vintage clothes. He called me interest- ing. He listened to my problems and opened up about his. He told me that I could really rock a Jackie Kennedy head scarf and that I knew a thing or two about tastefully pairing prints. AND YET. He didn’t invite me over to his 107th Street apartment to kiss me. He didn’t even touch me, not even once to adjust me during a photo shoot. We took the subway together on weekends from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Queens, even rode the Staten Island Ferry together, but he didn’t so much as put his arm around me. There was always a thin barrier between us, which I chalked up to his position of power. And although sometimes this barrier was made of metal, sometimes it was made of a gauze that seemed thin enough to tear.
Let me pause again for one more minute. At age sixteen, just as now, I was a fucking woman. It wasn’t that I needed his approval to exist. Even in this time of frissons and jittery stomachs, I knew my power without Elijah. I didn’t need him to kiss me. I just really wanted him to, and that wild desire made my body feel like it was on fire. Let’s be honest. I was in love, and it was the kind of love that made me forget myself.
So he didn’t kiss me, but he talked to me. He told me count- less hilarious stories about Quare, academically rigorous and so- cially conscious, and encouraged me to apply, albeit in a buoyant, slightly jocular way. Until eleventh grade, he’d attended Westwood, Bowen’s prestigious brother school. (Quare was for students in the eleventh and twelfth grades only.) He’d grown frustrated, just as I was growing frustrated, with the stuffy, pretentious private school scene. (Even though I would never say that out loud.)
I thought, maybe if I went to Quare, I’d be interesting just as he’d been interesting. We’d be interesting together."
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