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Not That Kind of Girl: Review

Title: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Release Date: September 2010
Published By: Push
Pages: 322
Goodreads Rating: 3.61 stars

Review: Natalie Sterling wants loyal friends, the President position on student council, and a nice boy to date. But unfortunately for her, life is messy and she has no control over it. Her friends have secrets they won't share, girls on the student council are acting slutty, and the very boy she dismissed so often is now the one she wants to sleep with - in secret, of course. Now she's forced to find a fine line between the crazy and the controlled.

NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL had a very clear message that was pushed, though not to the point of preaching: having sex doesn't make you a slut. I think this is definitely an important and meaningful theme, but I didn't really like the way this was shown. Natalie was portrayed as an ultra "good girl", and the freshman girls were portrayed as sex-crazed demons literally walking around topless. I felt these were both unrealistic portraits of feminists and girls often referred to as "sluts".

These extreme images made it difficult to relate to the characters. Spencer, the ringleader of the bra-exposing girls, seemed way over-the-top and far crazier than any fourteen-year-old I know (and keep in mind that I myself am fourteen). On the other side of the spectrum, Natalie was frustratingly neurotic rather than endearingly so, and had an irrational hate towards boys that didn't stem from any sort of traumatic experience. So as you can see, there were several places where I was quite fed up with the characters.

That said, I liked them more than I disliked them. Natalie and Spencer both matured through the book, and I felt Natalie in particular underwent important changes. Apart from her hostility to boys and goody-goody-ness, I usually found myself enjoying her as a character. After all, she was a strong, intelligent young woman who just had some misplaced ideas and was overly-defensive of her friends.

Not a lot of this review was positive, but I did enjoy NOT THAT KIND OF BOOK. The story is rather addictive, and though the characters aren't always as compelling as they could be, I found myself flipping through the pages at a rapid pace. This novel has a good, relevant message that's important for teenagers wondering about being sexually active, and manages to tell it without being annoyingly pushy. I would still recommend this to anyone who enjoys a non-depressing but still serious contemporary book.


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