This Girl Is Different by J. J. Johnson | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
This Girl Is Different

This Girl Is Different

3.8 12
by J.J. Johnson

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Having inherited rabble-rousing genes from her ultra-liberal mother, homeschooled Evensong Sparkling Morningdew, who would rather be called Evie "for obvious reasons," isn't about to be a passive student when she tries out public school during her senior year. She is shocked by the institution's conditions—"disgusting" bathrooms, no sunlight, and Styrofoam dishes in the cafeteria—and appalled by the faculty's abuse of power. When her objections are ignored, she and two friends create a blog to encourage other students to speak up about injustices. The blog creates a stir, and as Evie's peers jump on the bandwagon to point fingers of blame, feelings are hurt, and friendships and even teachers' jobs are threatened. Offering a thorough examination of the pitfalls of protest and revolution in terms teens will understand, this smart first novel will likely spark discussions about authority abuse and crossing boundaries. Rather than judging Evie's methods of precipitating change, Johnson reveals a broad spectrum of perspectives through her characters' differing sentiments, motivations, and opinions. Authority figures, who Evie initially despises, make astute points throughout the novel. Ages 12–16. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Add a few years to Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl (Knopf, 2000), remove the mystical aura, plop her in northern New York state, shore up her liberal credentials (e.g., with a build-your-own geodesic dome home), mix in a healthy dose of self-righteousness, a dash of cynicism, a libido, and a hot South Asian boyfriend who is "a crunchier, leaner version of Kumar from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"...and voilà! Meet Evie. As a homeschooler entering senior year in the arena of a public high school, this stridently independent protagonist starts an anonymous blog to shed light on injustice, from the cheer squad coach who takes body image to the extreme to the teacher who may—or may not—be having an affair with a student. The ensuing chaos mixes with romantic comedy to culminate in a melodramatic resolution reminiscent of certain '80s John Hughes flicks, but Evie does undergo a degree of character reform through the process. Most of the figures surrounding this stubborn narrator lack depth, Evie's histrionics can be over-the-top, the writing is uneven, and sometimes noncontextualized pop-culture quotes jump out discordantly. Because of the novel's incorporation of First Amendment issues in this era of Web 2.0, it is worth most high schools' second tier of purchases.—Rhona Campbell, formerly at Washington, DC Public Library
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Not only is this girl different, but the book is different, too. The girl, Evie, has been home-schooled by her politically/socially radical mother, Martha. She's ready for her senior year in high school, and she has decided that she really needs the experience of enrolling in a public high school. She may need it, but is she really prepared for it? Academically, she is thoroughly prepared—Martha has made sure of that. So what doesn't she have? Friends her own age? She has never even met any of the kids in town! But that situation is taken care of on the first page, when she tries to pick up a snake—yes, a snake—twists her ankle, and realizes that she hasn't charged her cell phone. "No freak-outs, no worries!" she says. Martha has packed some trail mix, an Ace bandage, and some ibuprofen into her backpack. At least she won't starve. So Evie passes some time sketching the snake, and finally she hears voices. They belong to two teenagers who seem surprised to see someone so young so far from the town—"you came out this far alone?" asks the girl. "She says it like it is unimaginable, like, you just flew back from the moon?" They finally get themselves introduced, and Rajas and Jacinda, both seniors in high school, come to Evie's rescue. By the end of the day, they are friends. So what does the school year hold for them all? How can they become close friends? Jacinda is, after all, the head of the cheerleading squad! Evie has opinions about cheerleaders, of course, and her feelings about oppression and discrimination are never withheld. Martha's opinion about the Institution of School won't change, and to an adult reader, it seems as if nothing has changed in nearly 50 years. Reputations may suffer. Evie may be the school's nemesis. Certain teachers may lose their jobs. And you may not be able to stop reading this book! Recommended. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
Kirkus Reviews

Despite warnings from her hippie mom (who stealthily places peace stickers on toy guns at Wal-Mart), Evie's eager to give up homeschooling at their sustainable home in upstate New York to spend her senior year at the "Institution of School." Outspoken Evie, with a voice so endearing and provocative that it will make readers pause often to think, quickly discovers in this witty debut that high school is full of biased rules, abuses of power and a lack of civil liberties. Only her newfound friend, popular, Indian-American cheerleader Jacinda, and her gorgeous cousin, Rajas, make the endeavor tolerable. Normally self-confident and eschewing labels, Evie can't explain why she wants to define her first love, which can leave her vulnerable and insecure. After the cheerleading coach humiliates a member for her weight, the trio sets up a blog for the People's Lightning to Undermine True Oppression (PLUTO) with a manifesto for social justice and mounts a lightning bolt to the coach's door. Their friendship suffers, and the school turns to chaos, however, when Jacinda's inappropriate relationship with a teacher is outed and students use PLUTO to air personal grievances. Learning firsthand how difficult it is to lead a revolution, Evie wonders if she's up to the challenge or if she's just the freak everyone calls her. Readers will never look at high school—or life—the same.(Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)
HL530L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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