My Life As a Girl

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Overview

It's the long, hot summer between high school and college, and Jaime Cody is working a double shift. But Jaime is not your average eighteen-year-old who's waitressing for spending money. She's hoping to earn back the college tuition her father stole from her. A whole country lies between Arizona, where Jaime lives, and Bryn Mawr, a college for women in Pennsylvania. Her plan is perfect, until a boy named Buddy appears. Jaime figures that Buddy can be her secret, just for the summer. And in the fall she'll head ...
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My Life As a Girl

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Overview

It's the long, hot summer between high school and college, and Jaime Cody is working a double shift. But Jaime is not your average eighteen-year-old who's waitressing for spending money. She's hoping to earn back the college tuition her father stole from her. A whole country lies between Arizona, where Jaime lives, and Bryn Mawr, a college for women in Pennsylvania. Her plan is perfect, until a boy named Buddy appears. Jaime figures that Buddy can be her secret, just for the summer. And in the fall she'll head east to begin her new life. Or so she thinks—

During her last summer in Phoenix, Arizona, before going to an eastern college, eighteen-year-old Jaime works two waitress jobs and plans her escape from a life forever changed by her father's prison sentence.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
First-novelist Mosier authors a sharp-edged romance about an Arizona native hoping to reinvent herself when she goes "back East" to college. Entering Bryn Mawr, Jaime Cody wants to bury her recent past: the arrest of her father for embezzlement, her degrading waitress jobs and her fling with Buddy the "cowboy." All goes well until Buddy arrives on campus, "hell bent" on bringing her home. At this point, readers are taken back in time as Jaime recounts her last summer "as a girl," when she skirts the fate she used to joke about with her best friend, Rosa: "hitched to some loser guy right out of high school, cramped into a trailer in Happy Tepee RV Park, selling fry bread with beans at the mall, drinking beer at desert parties." Mosier cleanly slices Jaime's life into three phases: her upper-middle-class childhood; her traumatic adolescence, when financial security slips away as quickly as her trust in her father; and her emergence into adulthood, when she can view her own mistakes and her parents' mistakes objectively. Featuring lifelike dialogue, three-dimensional characters and an upbeat outcome, the novel also serves up glossy, attention-getting prose ("That was the beginning, as blind and misguided as most beginnings are") that will appeal to female teens not quite ready to bid their own "girlhoods" good-bye. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Dianne Ochiltree
The summer between high school and college stretches out like a hot, dry desert mile for Jaime Cody. But more than mileage separates the Arizonan eighteen-year-old from her freshman year at Bryn Mawr, an Ivy League college for women on the East Coast. There's also the missing tuition money that her own father stole from her trust fund. To make up for that, she's working a double shift, waiting tables by day at a downtown diner and by night at an exclusive resort. Jaime soon adds a third shift to her summer life, however, when Buddy-a good-looking, good-time slacker-begins an ardent campaign for Jaime's attention. Jaime finds Buddy's doubtful charms may prove the biggest challenge to her well-laid plans for the future. Told with style and understanding, Mosier's first novel for young adults is a triumph.
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's July 1999 review of the hardcover edition: During her last summer in Phoenix before heading off east to college at Bryn Mawr, eighteen-year-old Jaime plans to spend all her time working double shifts as a waitress. She's trying to make back the money for college that her gambling father, currently awaiting his trial for embezzlement, stole from her. She hadn't planned on meeting bad boy Buddy, a sexy cowboy who takes Jaime dancing and falls in love with her. For Jaime it's a summer romance, a way to have fun and escape the grind of her jobs, her anger at her father, and the killing heat of summer in Phoenix. When Buddy is arrested for driving a stolen car at the end of the summer, Jaime doesn't even say goodbye to him, but he finds her at Bryn Mawr. It isn't until she returns home at Christmas that she really ends the relationship, and regrets losing her virginity to him. In this bittersweet, well-written first novel, Jaime is struggling to come to terms with herself. She's clear-eyed about her goals, heading for an M.D. and hoping to reinvent herself in college. Her best friend Rosa and her hard-working mother stand by Jaime as she tries to free herself of Phoenix and her past. "This is my last summer as a girl," Jaime thinks to herself, and Buddy is a last fling. Teenage girls will appreciate both Buddy's appeal and his unsuitability, and empathize with Jaime's confusion as she hovers between her past and her future. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Random House, 196p, 18cm, 98-8688, $4.99. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 UpWhen her cowboy wanna-be, con-man, ex-boyfriend Buddy drives 3000 miles and crashes at the Bryn Mawr campus before her mid-year finals, freshman Jaime Cody is thrown into confusion. Her story then becomes an extended flashback of the previous summer in Phoenix where she worked two jobs, one at an elite resort, the other at a family-style restaurant, to help pay for her college room and board. At 18, Jaime is determined to be different from her criminal father, who is in prison while on trial for alleged embezzlementand stealing her college fund. Drawn by Buddys magnetic appeal, Jaime enters into a summer romance that is risky business with potential for fun, drugs, alcohol, and sex but things are left hanging when Buddy is arrested and Jaime heads east to school. It is only when she finishes her exams and returns home that she is able to come to terms with Buddy and with her father. Mosier writes cleanly and realistically of the young womans need to escapethrough jobs, boyfriend, or college. Restaurant scenes ring true even though the depiction of the waitress with a heart of gold, a starving-artist dishwasher, and leering manager are somewhat stereotyped. Jaimes coming-of-age shows her struggle and growth through the emotional upheaval, decisions, and experiences that go with ending high school and leaving home.Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The summer before Jaime is to leave Phoenix for Bryn Mawr, she decides to earn college money by working two waitress jobs: mornings at a greasy spoon and nights at an upscale hotel restaurant. Her mother has a broken heart; her father is in jail awaiting his trial for embezzlement. She knows that college will deliver her into "the future," but across her well-laid plans waltzes Buddy, a good-looking, good-for-nothing drifter who immediately begins a long and ardent campaign of seduction. Jaime gets over her initial distaste for him; she is both fascinated by him and by her reaction to him. Her life divides into three shifts—two waitressing, and one, late at night with Buddy, steeling herself against his doubtful charms. When she gives him his comeuppance instead of her virginity, the scene is more slapstick in tone than any preceding it; that's surprising, given how deliberately Mosier underplays most of the details of Jaime's life. Perplexing are pieces of high-gloss writing amid ordinary freshman angst and the sketchiness of the details surrounding Jaime's father, which makes his troubles matter less to readers; compelling and astutely observed are Jaime's feelings for Buddy, which range from roiling to distant and clinical. (Fiction. 13-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679890355
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/18/1999
  • Pages: 193
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.69 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Mosier was raised in Arizona, the setting for My Life as a Girl and for her short stories, which have appeared in Sassy, Seventeen, The Philadelphia Enquirer Magazine, and various literary magazines. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and two children, and directs Bryn Mawr's summer writing program for high school students. This is her first novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

That lie came as easily as a habit. It was the first line of a rap called "Worst Case Scenario," which Rosa and I used to say. I'm staying in Phoenix, one of us would start, and together we'd make up a miserable life: hitched to some loser guy right out of high school, cramped into a trailer in Happy Tepee RV Park, selling fry bread with beans at the mall, drinking beer at desert parties. The game kept us from griping about busting our brains to get into good colleges, and geared us up to face the thin rejection letters we were sure we'd find in our mailboxes. Until that afternoon in April, when the fat packages containing letters starting "We are pleased..." came to us from Stanford, Rosa's first choice, and from Bryn Mawr.

"Isn't Bryn Mawr near Philadelphia?" Kenny asked, and I nodded almost imperceptibly, watching for some sign that I'd gotten the job. He patted my arm, as though in a second I'd gone from conquest to old flame. Then, slowly, he folded my application into quarters and tucked it into his breast pocket.

I waited, afraid to breathe, like a gambler watching the dice roll.

"I'm from back east myself," he said finally, and then went on about how people are friendlier in Phoenix, the usual stuff back-Easters say to flatter you, for what seemed like an hour. I listened and smiled and told myself the job was just my safety; I'd make bigger bucks at The Phoenix. But the more Kenny made me wait for the job, the more I felt I had to have it. I was almost as anxious as I'd been at my Bryn Mawr interview.

By the time Kenny had finally finished hyping about the laid-back Western attitude, I'd blown the whole thing out of proportion.Suddenly, that job at Franklin's meant the difference between college or staying in Phoenix. Between my future as a doctor or being dependent on a man, like my mom. Between the M.D. degree I wanted and the M.R.S. that seemed a consolation prize.

"Can you start tomorrow morning?" Kenny asked.

"Yes!" I gushed, but then it was weird to have it decided. I felt more resigned to it than happy, the way my dad looked the time he won a pile at the greyhound races. That night he told me soberly, "You have to know your limit," as if winning were scientific and not just luck that could change in a minute, the way ours did.

Remembering Dad's words, I told myself I'd drawn the line, gone as far as I'd have to for a damn diner job.

Then Kenny said, "I'll go get your uniform."

"Army, navy, or marines?" I joked.

"I just love a girl in a uniform," he joked right back.

"Ha, ha," I said, tripping over the reprimand woman, which cowered at the tip of my tongue. That's what Bryn Mawr called its students, but in Arizona the line between one thing and another isn't so clear. I left it alone, but I was thinking: This summer's the end of my life as a girl.

"Size small?" he asked, trying not to look at my body.

"Medium," I said, straightening up in my seat.

"Read up on the rules while I'm gone."

Kenny left me alone then with a heavy notebook called "Franklin's Almanac." On the cover was the same cartoon that glared out from the floodlit highway sign: long-haired Ben with his square spectacles flying an electrified kite, and beneath it a corruption of Poor Richard's famous words: "Live to Eat." I flipped through the plastic pages, skipping company policy to look at greenish photos of Franklin's seafood specials, revived and deep-fried versions of what people got fresh in Philadelphia. I'd seen pictures of a place called the Italian Market, where iridescent fish were laid out on ice, and live crabs scrambled in buckets. But everything at Franklin's was hidden under greasy brown covers of breading, so you could hardly tell what it was.

I shut the rule book and looked around the diner, trying to picture myself hurrying out of the kitchen with a Kite 'n' Key Krab Kake Platter, trying to picture ninety hot summer days of the same. Someone had tried to make Franklin's look like Philly, with faux-brick floor tiles and lampshades shaped like Liberty Bells. On the walls were sun-faded posters of Independence Hall and the Delaware River, both much cleaner than seemed possible, and an outdated picture of downtown, missing the newer, mirrored buildings I'd seen in Bryn Mawr's viewbook. This inside information made me feel smug for a minute. But then, imagining how I'd describe the diner to Rosa, I felt embarrassed by how it was done up as if it wanted to be somewhere else.

We'd always planned to go to Stanford together, right up until last fall. Maybe I chose Bryn Mawr instead because an Eastern women's college was as far from familiar as I could get. Or because, for the first time in my life, I wanted to go somewhere without Rosa.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2006

    My Life As a Girl

    In this book my life as girl by elizabeth mosier was very interesting. although I dont think think i would ever read it again. it was good reading for the time being. Th book starts out when a young girl named Jamie was at her colege called Bryn Mawr.As she is stressed trying to get ready for a school a summer romance named Buddy comes back in to her life. The rest of the book she flashes back and tells the story of how she met buddy and all the trouble they got their selves into. The story shows how a young girl trys to earn her way into college while at the same time a sweet talker trys to let her have some fun and get her mind off of working so much. Elizabeth Mosier has a very distinct kind of writing. She tends to use inner monolouge a lot. Most of the time she talks about things that dont really have anything to do with the story. She will just go one and on about things unrelated to the story. These are the times where I really didn't enjoy the book and actually got very bored with it. The thing i liked most about the book was that she gave very good descriptions. It was like you were in the story. I also enjoyed the way the characters talked to eachother. Exspecially when Jamie would talk to Buddy, they talked as if they knew eachother forever even when they first met. Thier attutude towrds eachother just had a bit of sassiness to it that I realy liked. The plot line was not so great it never really got me hooked into the story. The ending was not thatgreat either. Usually there is like a big shocker and the end or a last paragraph that makes the whole story fit in, this is not one of those books, the end of the story just ends, point blank, nothing verey exciting about it. The reading was interesting though because it was a different kind of writing style that im not very used to reading. I wouldn't recomend this book if you are trying to really get into it because its very difficult. This is one of those books that you read beacuse its laying around the house and have nothing else to do. Over all the book was okay but not great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2000

    A worthwhile book...

    While browsing through the library, I came upon this book and figured, 'Why not?' I'm glad I did pick up this book! I was amazed at how quickly it sucked me in! I couldn't put it down! Basically, we see Jamie struggle with her conscience and with decisions that face her everyday. Should she stay with Buddy or just forget him? If you want to find out what she does, read 'My Life As A Girl!'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2011

    Beautifully written novel

    A first love. A searing hot summer. A girl trying to figure out who she is and where she really belongs. All that and wonderful crisp writing make MY LIFE AS A GIRL a must read.

    If you love books by Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han and Deb Caletti, you'll love Mosier's novel too. I picked it up, devoured it in two sittings, and was sorry when it was done. Highly recommended!

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  • Posted January 19, 2009

    I Loved This Book!

    I loved every minute of it! It was a heart-throbbing, thrilling, memorable experience. I gave it to my daughter for her eighth-grade graduation, and she and her friends simply loved it. Ms. Mosier realistically illustrates the college-romances and the "bad boy" whom Jaime Cody falls for. I recommend this to anyone, adults and teens, who love a well-written romance that beautifully captures lost love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2005

    Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z !!!!

    It was really disappointing. I thought it would be better. it was really boring i couldn't wait to finish it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2001

    What a story...

    'My Life as a Girl' was an incredible story. I loved how the author told the story of Jaime and her summer romance with Buddy. I couldn't put it down, I just had to keep reading to find out what happened next: will Jaime stay with Buddy or not? The ending actually surprised me. I totally recommend this book to any teenage girl who enjoys romance books. You should definitely give this book a try.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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