This Girl Is DifferentSpring 2011 Fiction
Evie loves all those high school movies from the 1980s, like Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. She even thinks she might like to try high school, just for a change from being home-schooled by her ex-hippie mom in their environmentally sustainable, self-built geodesic Dome Home. It’s just for her senior year, and after all, she can always go back to home-schooling if she doesn’t like it. Unfortunately, Evie’s mother has trained her to fight The Man, and Evie can’t seem to shake the habit. Moreover, she hasn’t reckoned on the power of the permanent record. If she still wants to get into Cornell, she needs to learn more than physics. Evie’s senior year turns out to be a lesson in community organizing as she struggles to rein in the destructive revolution she’s started.
Books about high school tend either to be about peer politics and romance or about the injustice of oppressive adult systems. This book combines both plot types, intelligently and humorously. Evie (and therefore the reader) struggles with complex ideas about justice, liberty, and responsibility, but she also struggles to manage her friendships and romances. The two plots intertwine nicely. Her narrative voice is wry, smart, and sympathetic, and the cast of secondary characters, especially the teachers, are well drawn. The resolution is too sudden and too tidy, but the process of getting there is rewarding enough to make up for it.