Johnson, JJ. This Girl is Different (2011). 288 Pages. Peachtree Publishers. $16.95*
This review is pre-release: It comes out April 1, 2011
Evie is not your typical teenage girl. Her mother is a New-Agey hippie who has spent a lot of time raising her daughter to be a student of the world. The official word for it is “homeschooled” and in some ways, that puts Evie at a disadvantage. All she knows of normal school dynamics is what she’s seen from movies. Luckily for Eve, she’s already met Rajas and Jacinda, so she’s not completely alone in this alien environment.
Unfortunately for Eve, there’s a lot she still has to learn, and this lesson is going to be a tough one.
I manage to grab the snake, but not without twisting my foot and falling butt-first into the creek. When I stand, lightning shoots through my ankle.
I take a long, deep yoga breath, an Ujjayi ocean breath, to be calm. Steady. Strong. Hopping on one foot, I hold the wriggling snake and scramble over to a large rock. As I unshoulder my backpack, the snake flicks its tongue at me. It must think I’m crazy.
I can think of worse things. Better crazy than mild.
Sometimes, it’s hard to say why you like a book, precisely, especially when it’s such a fast read; I started this book two hours ago, and I’m already done. I’m a bit sad that it’s over, but it pulled me in, and I actually got a bit teary at one point. There’s a steady build-up, a definite climax, and even a bit of denouement. In a way, I’m even grateful that this is a one-shot, rather than a book which is going to spin itself out into a series. Sometimes, I just want to read a book, rather than a whole series.
Eve is a fun character, relatable despite her eccentricities, and completely unashamed of her eco-friendly hippy ways. At times, she’s just a stupid teenager, which is sort of refreshing, considering how wise she thinks herself. High School is alien to her, which is entertaining, because I think it was a bit alien to us all, at one point or another.
The supporting characters are varied; there’s Rajas and Jacinda, her two high-school friends, Martha (her mother), and her absent uncle Rich (whose unexplained absence is one of the few issues I had.) Their level of development varies as well; you get a reasonable amount about each character, without any of them– aside from Rich– feeling useless.
I don’t know whether it was Eve, or the story of a new girl’s struggle with the norms of High School, but something about this story was extra fun. When all is said and done, it earns a 4.5/5; I really, really liked it, and I’m glad I took the time to read it. It loses a little love due to the absentee uncle, and it loses a little for being so angsty it made me teary. I don’t always enjoy that. But it’s still a great YA book.
* Disclosure: I got this pre-release from the publisher for free via NetGalley. It did not color my review.