This Girl Is Different by JJ Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This Girl is Different by J.J. Johnson was indeed a different young adult book compared to others that I have been reading. The main character, Evie, has been raised by her single mom in the woods of northern New York, where her mom has been homeschooling her all of her life. For her senior year, Evie convinces her mom to let her go to high school. She petitions her mom to let her do this on the basis that it will be a social experiment. Evie who has grown accustomed to being outspoken and for standing up for what she believes in finds adjusting to the rules of high school much harder than she anticipated. She also forms relationships with others that are challenged throughout the book as well.
The premise for Evie going to high school reminded me of the movie Never Been Kissed, although this story was more about social action and less about a romance with Michael Vartan. Evie has grown up with her hippie mom who is very anti-establishment. They also live in a dome home in the woods that is completely green, along with having a few farm animals to provide food for them. While I thought the story was clever, I also felt that the ideas behind Evie and her mom’s lifestyle were kinda being pushed a little too much. Not that I don’t respect people living a green lifestyle but it still felt a wee bit over the top.
Evie experiences many social injustices in her high school. She was taught to always stand up to injustice and that is exactly what she did. She definitely rocked the boat at her high school from the start. While I felt in some instances that there was a good chance those situations probably would not happen, I liked that Evie was proactive. However, Evie did quickly learn about the hierarchy of high school and how you do have to learn how to go about speaking up for injustice in a respectful way. I think she learned a lot about how to challenge authority without being an anarchist. Which for teens, I find to be a very important lesson to learn.
This Girl is Different was a great break from my world of dystopian fiction I have found myself in. Evie was a great voice for a realistic fiction and a great summer read.
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