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2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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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!

     
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