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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another Decent (But Not Dazzling) Contemporary YA

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Aggie Winchester's got better things to worry about than who'll be elected Prom Queen.  Goths don't care about that kind of stuff anyway.  And she is a Goth.  Kinda.  She's got the heavy makeup, the black clothes and the don't-mess-with-me glare—it's just that sometimes she feels like a goody-to-shoes playing dress-up.  Still, Prom's the least of her concerns.  Especially when she's dealing with her mother's cancer, her ex-boyfriend's stupid games and news of her best friend's pregnancy.  Who has time to waste on a lame-o school dance?  

Then, the unthinkable—or, at least the totally unbelievable—happens:  Sylvia Ness is nominated for Prom Queen.  Sylvia is Aggie's BFF.  Her fierce, Goth girl BFF.  The one who's going to be a mother in less than a year.  It's a controversy that sets the whole school, the whole community ablaze.  Weirdest of all, Sylvia actually wants to win.  And while she's courting votes, Sylvia's cozying up to the popular crowd, ignoring Aggie, who's supposed to be her best friend.  Aggie needs Sylvia now more than ever, but all she's got is goofy, bass-fishing Fitz Peterson.  

Aggie doesn't know how to solve any of her problems.  Heck, she can't even figure out what should be the easiest question of them all—Who is she, really?  A goody-goody?  A Goth?  Neither?  Both?  She doesn't know anymore.  But, as Aggie tries to figure it all out, she'll learn some important lessons about family, friendship and, believe it or not, fishing.  

It's hard not to relate to a heroine as confused and conflicted as Aggie Winchester.  She may not be the most likable girl out there, but she's definitely sympathetic.  She's also funny, tough and, in spite of herself, tender.  Still, her story drags a little, especially at first.  When it picks up, though, the novel becomes engrossing, thoughtful and real.  While I didn't absolutely love The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin, I liked it well enough.  The writing's solid, the characters are interesting and the plot kept me entertained.  So, all in all, a decent read.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language, sexual content and depictions of underage drinking and illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Implosion of Aggie Winchester from the generous folks at G.P. Putnam's Sons (a division of Penguin Young Readers Group).  Thank you!



  1. You know, I can't get past the cover showing a girl who is most definitely not in the typical Goth kid makeup/clothes when the main female characters both dress that way, right? I have a problem with covers that show people looking nothing at all as they're described in the book. Example: "Through the Ever Night" that supposed to be Perry? Who has tawny messy hair and golden skin in the first book?? I think not. And since this comment has already turned into a novel, might as well keep going :)... I had no idea that was Jem on the cover of "Clockwork Prince." NONE! Jem has silver hair and eyes. Silver, not black. I thought it was Will for the entire book. Btw, Susan, are you caught up on your Infernal Devices books and ready to geek out with me when Clockwork Princess comes out in March?? Please say yes!! :)

    1. Well, if you look really closely, you can see that she's wearing really dark red/black lipstick. And she's not really a full on Goth -- kind of a wannabe, but yeah, I get what you're saying. In some ways, I think book covers shouldn't have faces on them at all, you know? I prefer to imagine up my own versions of the characters.

      As far as Infernal Devices, I've only read the first one and that was awhile ago. I'll probably have to re-read it before I move on with the series. *Sigh* So many books, so little time ...

  2. I love Goth it brings me back to medieval time I think Aggie here has some kind of mental problem thou

  3. This one actually sounds good. But I'm sucker for YA contemporary.

    1. I love contemporary YA, too. This one's well-written, it's just doesn't really stand out from the pack for me, you know?

  4. I was going to complain about the cover too! Funny. The title is so hard to read. Why did they go with that?

    1. I get why this cover was chosen and I kind of like it for its subtlety -- the dark lipstick represents Aggie's "bad" side, the tiara her "good." The novel's all about her struggle to figure out who she is, so that's what THAT is all about ... Still, it's not my favorite cover in the world.


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