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Vegan Virgin Valentine
by Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Candlewick
List Price: $16.99
Price: $11.55
You Save: $5.44 (32.02%)
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Reading Level: Young Adult
Edition: Hardcover
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Price: $11.55
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Customers who bought this also bought:
1. Love and Other Four-Letter Words (Laurel-Leaf Books) by Carolyn Mackler
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4. Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood (Sisterhood of Traveling Pants) by Ann Brashares
5. Sloppy Firsts : A Novel by Megan McCafferty
Product Details
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; edition (Jul 22, 2023)
  • ISBN: 0763621552
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 Based on 16 reviews.
  • Sales Rank: 154795

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

5I WAS AMAZED, Aug 16, 2023
The best book ever!!! I read it OVER AND OVER again!! I don't suggest it to children under 13 though!! ;)

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:

4Good for a romance., Aug 11, 2023
Mara Valentines life is all planed out for her. She will finish high school with the best grades making her valedictorian, take some college courses in the summer, and then go to Yale. But when her 16 year old hellion wild child niece moves in with her family Mara is bewildered...what will happen to her `perfect planed out' life? Her year younger niece ends up teaching Mara how to live life and have fun. A surprisingly good story!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

3Cute, but only so-so, Aug 3, 2023
The brashly glittered-up bookjacket and title promise a frothy coming-of-age comedy, but Mackler's book, while not exactly a downer, is only a so-so time passer. Our heroine Mara is determined on a path of monster overachievement, so much so as to enter Yale, she intends, as a SECOND-YEAR student! (I can only pray, for the sake of American education, that this is not actually possible-- what's the point of even going to Yale if you're going to rack up a fourth of your credits from local summer classes?!?). Naurally, the poor girl needs to reorder her priorities. And her do-gooding parents, determined to rescue the progeny of Mara's much older, ne'er-do-well sister, take her niece Vivienne, or "V" as she absolutely insists, under their roof. Chaos ensues. Or well, not really actually. And here lies much of the problem. On the one hand, Mackler avoids making V quite the stereotypical bad girl foil to Mara's goody-two-shoes. But in showing us so quickly that V has a soul, the story becomes too dull, too early. Sure, we'd expect some redemption at the end, and of course we expect V to bring some sauce into Mara's life. But, aside from introducing Mara to the pleasures of hootchie-tops with ironic slogans written in glitter (hence that bookjacket), the bonding between Mara and V is dull as dishwater. This devolves the plot's interest onto Mara's budding romance with her boss James, the 22-year old arty and intellectual entrepreneur who never went to college. Mara's parents will make a bit more of an issue of his age than she will, but for Mara the constant question is why he went into work instead of school. This plays into the novel's theme about Mara's obsessive pursuit of education as status-symbol, but the book doesn't explore the issues of class that create parents as overdetermined as Mara's, who clearly have driven her obsessively to "achieve". Mackler tries to differentiate Mom and Dad midway through, having the mother deliver some cliched relativistic message while showing the dad using the cell phone as a weapon of mass surveillance, but it doesn't change the fact that they're both neurotic overachievers and probably drove V's mom into her listless lifestyle and are guilty of raising Mara to be even more straitjacketed, to the point where being valedictorian and getting a prestige education on the fly is the most important thing in the world. Considering that, the offscreen denouement after the last page, where (sorry,plot spoiler!!!) Mara will show up to graduate wearing V's first-day-of-school outfit, will probably make their hearts stop quicker than any of V's indiscretions or, for that matter, Mara's own experiments in intimacy, ever would've. Yes, Mara Valentine is a much "badder" girl than she realizes! For all her frumpy anxiety, she is the real charm of this book. As predictable as her habit of stomping off to walk alone in the freezing snow evertime something goes wrong becomes, I could identify with it, and it makes her become real and human, even if (from a storytelling perspective) it's repetitive and uninspired. "Vegan Virgin Valentine" is a fun and, to my mind, positive read for the YA set, but I wish it had more wit and let these non-sibling rivals just not get along a little more!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

5Fun and Heartwearming, Aug 2, 2023
Mackler, as always, writes great, realistic girl characters with a nice dollop of humor. The novel is narrated by Mara, an (...) retentive good girl, but also features her niece V, a fun-loving party girl. How the characters change in their relation to each other, Mara's parents, and school is told with humor, good pacing, and heart. A highly enjoyable read.

And thank you, Mackler, for portraying female sexuality in a touching, realistic way.

I can't wait to get Mackler's next book.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:

4 A Clichè Worth Repeating, Jul 20, 2023
I was glad to see that this book got mostly good reviews from customers despite being labeled cliché. Sure, it is somewhat predictable, but that didn't keep me from enjoying it. The plot revolves around seventeen year-old Mara, whose life is basically dominated by academic pressures and successes and all of the test scores, GPA's, and extracurricular activities that go with them. Though she has already gotten into Yale, she is determined to beat her ex-boyfriend Travis Hart in the race to become valedictorian. When V, her sixteen year-old niece, (the daughter of a much older, rebellious sibling) comes to live with Mara's family, Mara is forced to question the manner in which she has lived her life thus far. As V struggles not to gain a bad reputation as a stoner and a tramp (she makes out with Mara's ex-boyfriend on her first day of school) in her new school, and enrolls in SAT prep courses and gains a part in the school play, Mara begins to question the validity of her dreams and ambitions. She finds herself wishing she could reconnect with old friends, growing attracted to her twenty-two year-old boss at the coffee shop where she works part-time, and even as a vegan, dreaming of cheese!

Having already read Mackler's sophomore effort "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things", I recognized her humor and was once again amused by her penchant for nuanced, eccentric characters. However, I especially identified the book's exposure of the mindset of an honor-roll student and the hypocrisy of a school administration that lavishes praise on Mara while it continues to exert pressures on her that sap her of her energy. Even though Mara seemingly has it all, one cannot help but empathize with her slow realization that it isn't making her very happy. The reader can also commend her for having the courage to gradually make changes in her life in order to assert her independence and her desires, even if Mackler might take these freedoms a tad too far for credibility at times.

Perhaps the two aspects of this book that I appreciated the most were Mara's relationship with James and her relationship with her parents. Even though James is twenty-two and hasn't been to college, which typically screams bad news for a teenage girl, he is portrayed as sensitive and possessing a wisdom that cannot be accumulated from textbooks but rather from age. He serves as a striking contrast to the model-student, closet-jerk Travis, who pressures Mara sexually. I liked the fact that this book emphasizes the importance of trusting one's own feelings when it comes to sexual relationships and shows a character who waits until she is ready to have sex and reaps positive results. Mara's relationship with her parents is portrayed with equal complexity in that the reader sees evidence of their love for their daughter even as they seem unable to in V's words "cut the cord".

I found this book to be a quick read but one that was hard to put down. I loved watching Mara's transformation as she went from being an uptight, austere A-student to being a more moderate, fun-loving person who finds herself in love. This metamorphosis is set in opposition to V's equally compelling makeover from "stonah babe" and "slutty tramp degenerate" into a girl who is aware of her talents and respects herself while never losing her edge. This book is for anyone who has found themselves wondering if there is more to life than making the honor-roll.


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