When Mallory’s boyfriend cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides to take a break from the modern ways of life. Helped in part by a list her grandmother wrote in the 1960s, Mallory attempts to swear off technology and return to what she thinks must have been a “simpler” time. But as Mallory becomes more ensconced in the ways of the past, she realizes her present is changing, and she might have taken the whole vintage thing a little too seriously.
Lindsey Leavitt brings her trademark humor and wit to this cute story of a contemporary girl trying to go vintage. Although the novel didn’t work for me, there’s a lot here that teens will like. Leavitt’s ability to create an authentic voice for her characters is on full display here, and the twist on technology will hook younger readers. However, a crazy mess of subplots and some too-convenient plot points will make sophisticated readers roll their eyes.
Mallory’s voice feels authentic (if a little irritating), and her relationship with her loyal younger sister is fun to read. The two are good girls from a good family, and Leavitt’s tendency to craft YA novels that are free of controversial material makes this a good choice for middle-grade readers. All of this works well for the intended audience, but I couldn’t help but think that something was missing from the story.
Something about Mallory and her struggle to find balance after her breakup never quite gelled for me. I found her often irritating and dubiously obtuse. A too-convenient plot twist near the end of the novel was too much for me to take, and I felt the details of the book slipping away from me as soon as I finished it. This wasn’t a standout, but that doesn’t mean it won’t find an audience. Perhaps my expectations were too high, after loving Sean Griswold’s Head.
It’ll work for teens looking for a sweet, “clean” read, but it’s not very memorable.
Going Vintage by Linsdsey Leavitt. Bloomsbury: 2013. Electronic copy accepted for review via NetGalley.