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This Girl Is Different

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Review from Blkosiner's Book Blog

This Girl is Different is a quick but powerful book. Evie, the main character stands up for what she believes in and as the title suggests, she is different and okay with it. I also like that she can admit when she's wrong, even if it takes a bit to get her to see that....
This Girl is Different is a quick but powerful book. Evie, the main character stands up for what she believes in and as the title suggests, she is different and okay with it. I also like that she can admit when she's wrong, even if it takes a bit to get her to see that.
Rajas, the love interest is really complex, and I really like him. He's interesting, has smart things to say, and he is sweet and supportive most of the time. But there are times when I just want him to grow up and get over himself, but it is a very realistic view of teenage boys, and I appreciate that.
This is a very character driven novel, and I really like how Jacinda and Evie both defy expectation in their own ways.
I appreciate that Evie's mom is active in this book, and she is involved in Evie's life. She is a very stand back Mom but she asks questions, makes Evie think and encourages her to make her own decisions.
I really like how lightning is on the cover and the role it plays in the book alhtough I don't want to spoil anything.
I recommend this one! It's a good read.

posted by BlkosinerBookBlog on March 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

could have been much better

It isn't often that one finds a YA fiction novel where the main character has been homeschooled, let alone unschooled. This fact alone made me want to read J.J. Johnson's soon to be released book, This Girl is Different. Evie, an intelligent, well-read, thoughtful young...
It isn't often that one finds a YA fiction novel where the main character has been homeschooled, let alone unschooled. This fact alone made me want to read J.J. Johnson's soon to be released book, This Girl is Different. Evie, an intelligent, well-read, thoughtful young woman who has unschooled throughout her life is set on attending Cornell to study social justice when she decides to experience what is her senior year at the local public school.

There tend to be two main stereotypes of homeschooling families: the strict religious homeschoolers who are over-controlling and the flaky hippie homeschoolers, portrayed as neglegient. Unfortunately, Johnson chose to go the stereotype route. So while Evie's family situation has redeeming qualities such as living in an Earth dome, living a sustainable life, and living in a consensual manner, her mother is portayed as a communist hippie, unable or unwanting to sustain a job after getting pregnant while following a band around and leaving the drug-abusing sperm donor.

It's disappointing that Evie decides to experience school, as though she is missing out with her real-life learning experiences. The school is protrayed realistically, though, with a totalitarian rule by adults without thought to equal rights, minus those teachers and administratos who are tied by bureacratical restraints. Evie takes the experience on as a challenge and stands for the rights of all.

The constant repeats of texting and web usage were a bit annoying, but according to today's media, accurate of public schools today. I was also disappointed that such a strong, independent young woman immediately caved and focused on the first handsome guy she met, one whom had an issue with commitment. Evie's constant self reminders that "This girl is different" seemed out of place and self-important.

Overall, the book was decent and I might suggest it to my children when they are older. At the least, it was a reminder to me that the world doesn't live in a consensual manner, and my family will continue on with our unschooling lifestyle.

Disclaimer: A complimentray copy of the book was provided by Peachtree Publishers.

posted by LivingPeacefully on January 23, 2011

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  • Posted March 24, 2011

    Courtesy of Readergirl Reviews a Teen Book

    This was a very interesting book in that it was different than most things I read. Evie was a character in more ways than one. She is one of those people that really doesn't care what others think of her, and she thinks of herself as "This girl is different." Seeing what her upbringing was like with an eccentric but awesomely sweet and funny mother was so interesting.

    I loved the fact that Evie was so smart and self-assured. This is unusual in a character of this age. Not that teens can't be intelligent...but Evie is a step beyond mere intelligence. Her main focus is to cultivate change in places where she sees a need. This is noble, but can backfire, which it does for Evie. Witnessing the places where her good intentions go had me both cheering her on, but also wincing for her as things didn't always work out as expected.

    Her relationship with Rajas was sweet, and her growing closeness to him had the flavor of that electrifying first love. It was also refreshing though to watch a teen girl stand up for herself in a relationship and demand respect as she does with Rajas.

    What she does to set things right takes amazing courage. This only makes you like her more. This was a smart, interesting, and entertaining debut from JJ Johnson. Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more from this author in future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Review from Blkosiner's Book Blog

    This Girl is Different is a quick but powerful book. Evie, the main character stands up for what she believes in and as the title suggests, she is different and okay with it. I also like that she can admit when she's wrong, even if it takes a bit to get her to see that.
    Rajas, the love interest is really complex, and I really like him. He's interesting, has smart things to say, and he is sweet and supportive most of the time. But there are times when I just want him to grow up and get over himself, but it is a very realistic view of teenage boys, and I appreciate that.
    This is a very character driven novel, and I really like how Jacinda and Evie both defy expectation in their own ways.
    I appreciate that Evie's mom is active in this book, and she is involved in Evie's life. She is a very stand back Mom but she asks questions, makes Evie think and encourages her to make her own decisions.
    I really like how lightning is on the cover and the role it plays in the book alhtough I don't want to spoil anything.
    I recommend this one! It's a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Blinded by the lightning

    This Girl Is Different is not for the weak-minded. A sharp contrast from books like The Lipstick Laws and Audrey, Wait!, but not quite as dark and troubled as Ballads Of Suburbia. This Girl Is Different is a quite precocious book that will surely inspire readers to be more aware of social justice, freedom of speech, and bullying. Not to mention all the interesting quotes that open each chapter spurred me on to see what happens next as Evie critically examines the school system and how it contrasts with the freedom that she enjoyed via home-schooling. She dives into the social circles, thankfully with the help of her new friends Jacinda and Rajas who seem to be in the more popular-but-nicer crowd. She gets frustrated with the unfair cell phone policy that favors students who can afford data plans on their phones, but can't answer your mom's call during the lunch hour when it's not disrupting class! While I didn't love Evie to death (she gives tough love), I did enjoy the message behind This Girl Is Different and it made me consider the difference between the structure of high school versus the freedom of college/real world. Constantly I can see the reasoning behind the school rules, but still I can see how startling it could be for Evie who was unused to the structure. How limiting it can be for one to express oneself (i.e. defend one's dignity), especially when a teacher oversteps their professional boundaries or goes beyond the definition of strict discipline. I wish there had been a little more good blogging before things spiraled out of control, but this is high school and drama travels explosively fast as Evie soon finds out! Kudos for J.J. Johnson on providing a diversity of authority figures - parents, teachers, principal, etc - who had different expectations for these high-schoolers and acted as both good and bad guys. This is also a story that may inspire educators to take a good look at their teaching attitude - I know that This Girl Is Different would have changed my whole perspective if I had pursued a teaching career!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good YA book!

    Goodreads describes the book as:

    Evie is different. Not just her upbringing-though that's certainly been unusual-but also her mindset. She's smart, independent, confident, opinionated, and ready to take on a new challenge: The Institution of School.

    It doesn't take this homeschooled kid long to discover that high school is a whole new world, and not in the way she expected. It's also a social minefield, and Evie finds herself confronting new problems at every turn, failing to follow or even understand the rules, and proposing solutions that aren't welcome or accepted.

    Not one to sit idly by, Evie sets out to make changes. Big changes. The movement she starts takes off, but before she realizes what's happening, her plan spirals out of control, forcing her to come to terms with a world she is only just beginning to comprehend.

    JJ Johnson's powerful debut novel will enthrall readers as it challenges assumptions about friendship, rules, boundaries, and power.

    I requested this book from Netgalley after reading the review of a friend. Before I get to my review, let me make clear that I am 48 years old whereas my friend is in her very early twenties. That difference in age may be a contributing factor for my take on the book vs hers.

    Good: Evie is a well thought out, seemingly well adjusted teenager who doesn't believe in the word "impossible" as she strives to make changes at the school and in people's lives. Her desires are always directed, sometimes misguided, at doing good for others - what she thinks is good. Because she was homeschooled, her interactions within the public school system were believable. Her romance with Raj seemed a bit grown-up to me but I don't remember what it was like to be a teenager in love so maybe not.

    The writing is excellent, the characters multi-dimensional, school descriptions and teachers seem pretty right on the money. I would have to say one thing about the book, which influences my final grade, is how it made me feel like I was back in high school - and I didn't like it much.

    Bad: Really can't think of anything bad to say about the book other than there were a few times I thought it was a little wordy.

    Teens would enjoy this book and the social consciousness it brings. All things considered, I give this book an A.



    I received this book from Netgalley to review. The only stipulation they put on reading an advance copy is that the review be done over the entire book. I am not required to write a good review. My review is my own.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    Girl With a Cause

    Evie is different in many ways. She's been raised to be a free-thinker. Her mother has home-schooled her, and they live in a self-sustaining home. This are going to change however, because Evie has decided to finish out her senior year in public high school. She quickly makes two friends, and it seems like things will go well. Evie soon finds her outspokenness is not so welcome. While trying to give other students a voice, Evie finds herself mixed up in something much bigger. She soon has to risk everything to try and set things right while staying true to herself.

    I found this to be a very fun book. I think it can be difficult to keep a character like Evie from being overbearing with her opinions, but the author did a good job. For the most part Evie was able to express her beliefs without being too oppressive with her opinions. You could tell that in the end Evie was really interested in the best thing for everyone. She wanted to make a difference in people's lives. Even though things may not have turned out exactly like Evie wanted, she had her heart in the right place. This makes her easy to like.

    The other characters were equally fun. Evie's mom was particularly wacky, but in a good way. This book was a super fast read, mostly because I was enjoying it so much. I would definitely recommend this book. Evie is not your typical YA heroine, but I think that's part of her appeal. She is in fact different, but in some really wonderful ways.

    Galley provided by publisher for review.

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