A simpler time: GOING VINTAGE by Lindsey Leavitt

Posted 22 March, 2013 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 25 Comments

GOING VINTAGE by Lindsey Leavitt
YA Contemporary
320 pages, hardcover
Available March 26, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review copy provided by publisher

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 in1962, 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 presient–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

Positive: Teen angst. And I mean this in the best possible way. In a true-to-life young adult novel, there’s got to be some teen angst because, well, it’s part of being a teen. If handled well, the angst itself doesn’t overwhelm the story, merely provides a catalyst or conflict. When Mallory finds her boyfriend has been cheating on her with an online hootchie named BubbleYum, she reacts without thinking and goes on to call him on it via Friendspace. Of course, being a part of the wired generation, everyone at school knows about it and is talking about it within seconds of the post. Mallory’s in the spotlight because of technology. So, what does she do? Decides technology is evil and that she’s purging it from her life, at least until the hubbub dies down.

Positive: Going vintage. Inspired by her grandmother’s list of goals for 1962, Mallory ditches technology and immerses herself in the 60’s, which she considers a simpler, easier time. It’s a bold plan, one that leads to some crazy shenanigans and completely awesome clothing choices. Reality can be a serious bitch sometimes, especially when everyone in the world knows your business as soon as you mention it online. Teens these days have it tough, what with their private selves living public lives. Unless their parents are complete luddites and have banned technology from their world, teens these days are immersed in social media. From Tumblr and Snapchat to Twitter and YouTube (to quote one of my students, “Only old people use Facebook anymore.” You can feel the derision oozing off that statement, can’t you?), their lives are played out for a much larger audience than teens just ten years ago. I can imagine it might be nice to escape into a less public world in this day and age.

Positive: Family. Mallory’s family is a huge presence in this story, which makes it all the more awesome. No absentee parents (or dead ones, for that matter). A family that cares about one another and, despite some squabbles and snarking, supports one another despite one particular member going a bit off the deep end. 

Wish: More books like this. For one, this is a standalone. For two, it’s sweet, adorable, funny and completely enjoyable. Much like her other story, SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD, GOING VINTAGE is going on my list of favorite YA books, one I’m telling my librarian friends that they need to add to our collection.

Overall: Leavitt expertly weaves a fabulously written story of exploration and discovery, betrayal and love found that’s highly recommended and entertaining.

Available for pre-order on Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

25 Responses to “A simpler time: GOING VINTAGE by Lindsey Leavitt”

  1. Oh wow… that good Mary?? I must say I’m reading more and more reviews and I feel like the reviews are getting better every time… I do not particularly like the time she’s going back to which is why I didn’t really wanted to read this one.. Hm!

  2. I don’t like regular, expected teen angst, as long as it’s not exaggerated. I keep saying this every single time I read a review of this book: I could never, ever agree to a tech-free existance, but I admire those who could
    And wow, that’s a lot of positives. I’ll be getting a copy of this the second it’s out. I just can’t wait.

    • I really don’t think I could go to tech-free either!! I love it too much and it’s too fully ingratiated into my life. But I liked reading about someone who tries it.

  3. I read Lindsey’s debut MG novel and felt so-so about it. I didn’t realize, however, that she had branched into YA (that cover misleads me a little, I guess). I’m wary of books with angsty-sounding synopses, especially when reviewers also point out the angst, but you’re so positive about it that I’m beginning to think I should give this book a second glance. Thanks!

    • It’s fantastic! Borrow one or find it in the library but see if you like it. And, if you do, check out SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD, her other YA. I loved that, too.

  4. YES MARY! I completely agree, the angst in this book was perfect. Not the overdramatic, soap-opera like angst, but just normal frustrations, hurt feelings, and then happiness. Loved it. And loved that her family was so present. I adore a good boarding school novel where there are no parents, but it was really nice to read about a girl who’s family was very in the picture:)

  5. Perfect review! I completely agree with what you’ve said. I loved the family stuff especially the sister relationship.

  6. I have my review for this posting on Monday. I really liked this one as well. I so agree with your statements about social media. I can’t even imagine having to have everything about you online for everyone to see all the time. Wow! Facebook is already out, I didn’t know that. Shows how up to speed I am on the current teen trends. Sigh…my kids are 2 and 4 I can only imagine what it will be like in ten years. I personally just loved Oliver.

    • Yeah, my students are all about Instagram and Tumblr these days. They’ve commented multiple times about how Fb is just for “old people”. Thanks, kids. Appreciate that.

  7. You know I first avoided this one because a lot of YA contemps hold too much drama. However, the angst here seems balanced well. Plus, with so many of you recommending it… I do think you pushed me over the edge and I’m moving it up the wishlist.

  8. I am so glad NOT to be a teenager these days-not that it was that fun initially but it looks even worse now. I’ll admit there are moments when I have wanted to go back to a simpler time as well so I found Mallory’s decision very understandable.

  9. Sometimes I feel like going off grid and going vintage, if just for a few days. But most of the time it makes me twitchy to think about going without tech/social media for even a few hours. This book sounds AWESOME. I can’t wait to pick this on up next week! Love your review, it has charmed me into reading a book I was probably not going to read before, so thanks! 🙂

  10. Okay I definitely need to make sure I read this one. I agree that Lindsey writes such great teenage characters… they feel like real teens to me, instead of the mini-adults we find in a lot of books.

  11. I loved this book and thought it was very realistic! Even the whole idea of going vintage was done realistically. Mallory’s reactions were what I think my reactions would be if I gave up my cell phone and computers.

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction