From Goodreads.com: When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.
Published: March 2013
Why I Chose It: I spotted this on a library shelf and thought it sounded too cute to pass up!
I’m super glad I grabbed this when I did. It’s a quick read, and a great summer novel. I was really excited about the premise of the story, that Mallory wants to remove technology from her life and live in a “vintage” style, because I love old “vintage” things and I really wanted to see how Mallory accomplished this.
As far as swearing off technology, that didn’t seem to have too large of an impact on the story. The main item Mallory swears off of is a website (it sounded similar to Facebook) and she notes it’s weird to not be in contact with people. Besides that site, Mallory doesn’t need to swear off of, or really miss, any other technology, so I felt that issue was a little simplified. There was also one scene where she confronts a teacher because she doesn’t want to use a computer for her class. Frankly I was little disappointed that there was only one class that this was an issue in, because I definitely expected her to have a much larger difficulty in not using technology for class. Overall the technology aspect of the story wasn’t a major factor, and was used as more of a supporting cause in her vintage lifestyle, but I was disappointed that it wasn’t bigger because of how society is so tech central right now.
Similarly, I was super pumped to read about going vintage clothes shopping, or looking for shoes, or hairstyles. I guess I kind of wanted to see Mallory going through “research” phase of sorts where she really learns what girls wore and styled and how they acted. While this was present (mainly by looking through her grandmothers yearbooks) Mallory already dresses in a more traditional/modest manner, so it’s not like she really needed to have a massive makeover. She doesn’t need to focus on this part of her vintage lifestyle.
I found that the story really gets taken over by this “list” that Mallory finds at her Grandmothers and wants to accomplish herself. She gets really focused and obsessed with this, but is then readily distracted by Oliver, the boy who volunteers to be the pep-club president. Then the story kind of revolved around him. Even though the book focuses more on Mallory’s relationships, it’s a really cute story.
The one aspect I really enjoyed about this book were the relationships and Mallory’s feelings. Leavitt does an amazing job at catching the worries and insecurities that come hand-in-hand with a breakup and a possible new relationship. Mallory has a lot of emotions to go through, and I really liked how Leavitt picked these up and made them central to who Mallory is and how they affect the story. This was definitely the strongest aspect of the book, and made me really appreciate Leavitt’s writing.
In summary, this book focuses on the relationships between Mallory and her family, friends, and boys. While it doesn’t focus on the vintage lifestyle, the vintage elements help to define Mallory’s character and helps booster her confidence and make important decisions about her relationships. This is definitely a quick and fun read – I would call is “a cute romance with a vintage flair” – and it’s great for a summer grab. :)
Rating: 3 / 5
“The big question rushing through my ears: Why did he need this? And the other question – that harsh, scratchy whisper: Why wasn’t I enough? And then it’s just a tide, surging along, where every single interaction I’ve ever had, every kiss, every joke, every truth becomes a wobbly question mark.” p 14
“Oliver leans against the wall in that effortless way that good-looking people do. He’s not worried that his cardigan with snag on a nail, or he’ll slide down, or that his thigh looks big smooshed against a flat surface.” p 105
“The library, with the books and articles and Dewey decimals, is admirably vintage.” p 158