You know how in high school there were always the seemingly perfect kids that you secretly hated? They seemed to have everything going for them: perfect grades, cool job, an incredible plan for the future with top universities and high-earning jobs, etc. Well, Mara Valentine was one of those kids. Not necessarily popular, but definitely an overachiever. She was involved with just about every extracurricular activity, a contender to be valedictorian, and working at the genuinely cool, local coffee shop.
Now remember the under-achievers. The kids who might have passed their classes, if they had bothered showing up or doing their homework. The kids who slept around and smoked pot and refused to prepare for a future beyond high school. V was one of those kids.
The two main characters in Vegan Virgin Valentine are total stereotypes. And, as the story progresses, they stay true to stereotype form as-shocker-Mara learns to loosen up and V learns to straighten up. Don’t expect any great surprises from the characters of story line in this book.
Having said that, there are a few variations on the common theme. For one thing, V is Mara’s niece. Not cousin, not sister, but niece. Also, Mara has explicit dreams…about grilled cheese sandwiches.
At just over 200 pages of easy reading, it won’t take you long to finish this book. It will not be a favourite or a hugely memorable book, but it will provide a few hours of entertainment. This book is like a sitcom episode: entertaining but not thought provoking, vaguely cheerful but not memorable. If you are looking for a quick and easy read for pure entertainment, then go for it. The book was intended for teen girls, and I think that 12-15 year old girls would probably enjoy it the most.
Author Carolyn Mackler is better known for her successful book The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things. If you enjoy her books, I recommend the Georgia Nicholson series, which is a similar type of genre only without the serious bits and with laugh-out-loud humour. If you like the attempts at deeper themes, I highly recommend the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series by Anne Brashares. These books are entertaining and well written, and successfully handle many deeper themes about life and growing up. For books for the same age group with simple entertainment value, read Meg Cabot’s books.