01 April 2011

Review: This girl is different - JJ Johnson

published April 1, 2011
young adult
requested and received a copy for review

After years of being home-schooled by her idealistic and nature loving mom, Evie decides to spend her last school year not at home and instead in high school with classmates, teachers and everything she didn't have in the last years. Evie loved being home-schooled however is excited to discover what high school is all about.
Shortly before starting with the new school year she meets two new friends, Jacinda and Rajas, who help her deal with the new situation. Outspoken and idealistic Evie soon realizes that highschool is not always fun. She soon feels limited in her scope and is shocked by some injustices that happen at school. Her mother taught her to stand up for her convictions so Evie decides to take action against the nuisances.
However she soon realizes that sometimes good intentions aren't enough and that when things gain momentum people and especially herself can be hurt by the outcome.
Will Evie be able to make a change and will she find friends, maybe even a boyfriend, who will respect and love her just the way she is?

When I saw the extraordinary cover of this book and read the synopsis I was immediately excited to read "This girl is different". Especially because home-schooling is so foreign to me (it's not allowed in Germany) it's always interesting to read about it. The author's engaging writing style made it easy to follow everything that was going on and it also made me enjoy reading the book a lot.
Right from the first pages on I knew that I would come to adore Evie. I loved her spirit, her idealism and that she was not shy about sharing her opinion with others. I also enjoyed reading about her relationship with her mother.
At first I was a bit sceptical about Evie's mom Martha and feared that she could be a bit too weird for me but exactly the contrary was the case. I understood her reasons for home-schooling Evie and think that she did a great job with Evie's education. Both Evie and her mom care about things that are also important to me, things like environment protection, civil rights and liberties, equal opportunities, living in harmony with nature, so it was easy for me to connect with them and understand why they lived their life the way they did.

I enjoyed that this book was on the one hand about Evie's issues at school and her fight for a better future and on the other hand about her relationship with her two new friends. Before high school Evie never had real friends and to see her interact with Jacinda and Rajas (the boy she is interested in) was fascinating and very entertaining.
Some people might think that Evie is a troublemaker however I think that the world could need some more Evies. Because people who care about the planet and their fellow human beings are always something positive. I liked that Evie learned that when things gain momentum people can be hurt even though this was the last thing you wanted. Evie was in her idealism at times a bit naive because she thought that all people would be as responsible and interested in a making school a better place as she was. She had to learn the hard way that sometimes good intentions doesn't matter. At times I thought that Evie was a bit too forgiving (especially when it came to Jacinda) but in the end I was very happy with how the book ended and that the problems at school were turned into something positive and liberating.

The love story between Evie and Rajas was not the main focus of the book however it still was an important part of it. To read how Evie fell in love with Rajas was cute and to see how she managed to stay true to herself even though it did hurt was admirable. I think Rajas acted in some situations a little stupid however I can imagine that dealing with everything that was going on was not so easy for him and everyone else.
The book made me laugh, smile and towards the end I also had to cry a bit. When I finished the last page of "This girl is different" I was happy and satisfied with the book. And happy to have met Evie and read about her last year in high school. 

I love the cover. It's unique, interesting, different from many other YA covers and it fits perfectly to the story and Evie.

final appraisal
"This girl is different" is a wonderful book with strong characters that I loved reading. The book both entertained me and made me think about things like bullying and standing up for your own convictions.
I would recommend this book to all readers who are interested in a heroine who cares about the future of our planet and her fellow human beings. 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an interesting read. I've often wondered how home schooled children cope in the outside world.




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