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Posted April 25, 2014
Curiously Captivating "Undiscovered Gyrl" chronicles
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"Undiscovered Gyrl" chronicles Katie Kampenfelt's gap year between high school and college, a deferment she's hoping will help her "discover her bliss." Katie is sharp, sexy, and smart, and lots of ambition--but without much motivation to go with it, she's just not sure what to do with that ambition.
Over the year, Katie keeps a blog to keep track of her thoughts and experiences. Through this blog, the reader gains insight into her romantic entanglements, insecurities and traumas, and both her deepest and shallowest desires--what the reader really gets, though, is a surprisingly well-done portrait of a teenage girl struggling to find out who she is and what she wants as the world around her moves on without her and the people in her life walk in and out--leaving various long-lasting positive and negative impacts.
I found Katie endlessly fascinating, and even more so because of the fact that she is not someone I have been or would be around. Despite Katie’s various morally questionable and condemnable decisions, she still elicits great sympathy and intrigue from the reader. I found myself both smirking and sighing for her—a more emotionally accomplished novel might have left me laughing and crying. Despite the fact that she is only 17, Burnett does a good job at composing a well-rounded, believable, and utterly fascinating character.
My review is negatively impacted by the novel’s conclusion. While I am not a reader who needs everything tied together in a bow at the end, this novel simply left too much out to even leave something to the imagination. Katie’s unreliability as a narrator is part of what makes her so fascinating, but this tactic undermines too much of Burnett’s work with the ending he has constructed. The reader is left without enough context or clues to be given the opportunity to come to any theories of their own. The abruptness suggest less of an intentional literary move on Burnett’s part, and more of a sudden realization that his story was coming to a close and he simply had no idea how to exit.
Despite this, I would still recommend readers pick this up if they’re looking for a weekend read. Overall, it is an engaging character study and easy read that will leave a lingering impression on the reader—Katie is not someone easily forgotten.