Author: Carolyn Mackler
The first Friday of July is here and that means my birthday is coming up! I’m reviewing Vegan Virgin Valentine. In my review of the short stories, one of the stories was written by Carolyn Mackler. After each of their stories, there was a mini “About Me” page for the authors, and it listed some of her other books. Since I enjoyed her short story I decided to read one of her novels.
Vegan Virgin Valentine is about a seventeen-year-old high-school senior named Mara Valentine. Mara is a straight-A student, has gotten an early acceptance into Yale, and has been a vegan for seven months. Mara’s mom does fundraising for the University of Rochester, and her dad is a dentist. Mara has a thirty-five-year-old sister named Aimee, and Mara is convinced she’s only alive to compensate for Aimee.
Aimee dropped out of college, moved to Colorado, and got pregnant by her ski instructor. Her daughter is Vivienee “V” Vail Valentine. V is Mara’s niece, and Mara’s parents are V’s grandparents. Aimee is a person who can’t make up her mind about her life plan. She and V have moved around a lot.
Aimee’s newest dream is cooking Central American cuisine, but V swears she’s moving because of Campbell, her newest love interest. Since there are no English-speaking schools where Aimee will be living and V doesn’t speak Spanish, Aimee asks her parents if they’ll take care of V for the rest of her junior-year. Her parents agree.
V is the exact opposite of Mara: A trouble-making, pot-smoking, rebellious sixteen-year-old. She’s a lot like Aimee. A major difference between Mara and V is that Mara needs a life plan, whereas V just lets life happen to her. Mara’s parents are determined to help get V’s life on track. They encourage her to get involved in school activities. When V’s around her grandparents, she’s sweet and all smiles but when it’s just V and Mara, she’s slutty and awful. V, like her mom, lost her virginity at a young age and is on the fast track to nowhere.
The first day that V is at Mara’s school, a student tells Mara there’s trash written about V in a bathroom stall. More trash is written, until V reveals that she wrote it. Mara’s school is V’s seventeenth school, and she’s learned that spreading rumours is a way to get noticed.
Meanwhile, Mara is falling for her boss. Mara works at a coffee shop because she figures it’ll look good on her college applications. The only problem is that her friend Claudia also likes this boy, and Mara knows it. James chooses Mara, not knowing how Claudia feels about him, and Claudia gets mad.
Mara and her ex-boyfriend are both candidates for high-school valedictorian, and it’s rewarded to Mara. The last scène is Mara and V driving to the high-school, and they’re finally friends.
I liked this book, but I wasn’t fond our narrator. Mara seemed like a goody-goody two shoes, and I hated her. I liked this book because the plot was interesting, and V’s character interested me.
Unfortunately, because I didn’t like our narrator, I do not recommend this book.