|A Book As Captivating As It's Cover|
Who's That Girl by Blair Thornburgh (392 pages)
Overview: This book tells the story of Natalie, alias Nattie, a junior in Wister, Pennsylvania, with red hair and an under the radar life. That is, til she becomes the muse of the next up and coming indie band's lead singer after only meeting him once. As "Natalie" bursts over the airwaves, rising on Indie charts across the country, Nattie starts to panic over being discovered as the girl that her school's most famous alumni, Sebastian Delacroix's, muse, but she also wonders where she and Sebastian stand after their single encounter at a party that was only almost something. All this is happening as Nattie is trying to navigate her supportive and eccentric family and her membership as the one heterosexual girl in her best friend Tess's quickly sinking OWPALGBTQIA club. It's an intelligent, thoughtful read that will hook you from the start and keep you reading till the end. Overall: 5
Characters: 5 Every character, no matter how minor, has a story and those stories are never minimized. Nattie, our POV character is intelligent, witty, and 100% percent relatable. I wish book characters were real so she could be my best friend. The way she navigates every normal, and not so normal, twist and turn that is thrown at her is logical and in character, and the way she interacts and looks into the other characters in the story is refreshing.
As for the other major players in the book, they are all well rounded and have labels for the express reason of proving to be more than them. Nattie's best friend, Tess, is overly ambitious to the point of sometimes seeming controlling in her attempts to get it right. Tall Zach is kind and protective of the members of the group. Thornburgh makes the fact that he is gay a small facet of his personality in comparison to the way he treats the other group members which I think is important. It just is for him, Then there's Zach the Anarchist who has always had a crush on Natalie but never really pursued it. He's smart and thoughtful but tends to get stuck in his head too much to do anything till something demands attention.
And finally, I can't finish analyzing the characters till I mention the famous Sebastian Delacroix because even if he doesn't appear physically in many scenes, he is the force behind many of the plot events of the book. I love how Thornburgh treats his character and how she builds him up and later tears him down as Nattie goes through her evolution of feelings. She gives the readers glimmers of what he will turn out to be, but they are the same signs Nattie sees and often ignores so the reader does too. It makes for a fascinating experience.
Plot: 5 Finally a love triangle I can get behind! With all the elements of what I hate, crafted tweaked and blended together, Thornburgh has made me fall in love. At the driving core of the plot, aside from the Winter Formal fiasco that weaves in and out, is this mess of a love story with Zach and Nattie and Sebastian. The way she pulls the players around, building this infamous like allure around Sebastian with all the "maybe it could have" mood makes the reader sympathize and fall for the aloof indie rocker who lives life by his convenience just like Nattie does. She keeps Zach far enough away so that the reader can see how he likes Nattie, and the reader can tell as well as Nattie does that she likes him back, but it's been written off and doesn't clash with the evolution of Sebastian. As this glowing image deteriorates in Nattie's head, Zach isn't pushed on to the reader or Nattie as an immediate alternative, letting Nattie work her feelings out before the climax of the book when this winner of a love triangle culminates. I think it's the time and intelligence that was put into writing this book that makes the story really tick as she knows the right elements to throw in at exactly the right time.
Writing: 5 From the first page I was blown away by Thornburgh's writing. It felt like a breath of fresh air, which may have been increased by the book I'd read before it, but was none the less amazing. This book capitalizes on having a strong, authentic, intelligent voice which is one of the most crucial elements in YA, and something so easily messed up. She treats both her readers and her characters seriously and with the most respect an author can show for a readership and a story, and that allows her to throw us head first into the novel in a way that makes the reader forget where they are or what's going on around them and make them live and breath the story.
She works on honing every facet of Nattie's life in the most realistic way possible. We see her family and how they interact, we see her friendships, and we see her start to navigate a life where others could be more than friends. These foundations are so well established that the scenarios she is thrown into them and how they are handled seem natural and logical.
I have to admit that the premise that was a bit out there and slightly flat was handled in the most beautiful fashion creating a book that I won't soon forget or regret buying.
Links of Interest:
The Hate U Give: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/11/the-hate-u-give.html
The Geography of Me and You: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/11/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations.html
Suffer Love: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/11/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week_22.html