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Vegan Virgin Valentine

Vegan Virgin Valentine

4.3 44
by Carolyn Mackler, Aya Cash (Narrated by)

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Mara Valentine is in control. She's a straight-A senior, a vegan, and her parents' pride and joy. She's neck-and-neck with her womanizing ex-boyfriend for number-one class ranking and plans to kick his salutatorian butt on her way out the door to Yale. Mara has her remaining months in Brockport all planned out.

The plan does not involve having V, her slutty


Mara Valentine is in control. She's a straight-A senior, a vegan, and her parents' pride and joy. She's neck-and-neck with her womanizing ex-boyfriend for number-one class ranking and plans to kick his salutatorian butt on her way out the door to Yale. Mara has her remaining months in Brockport all planned out.

The plan does not involve having V, her slutty, pot-smoking, sixteen-year-old niece -- yes, niece -- come to live with her family. Nor does it involve lusting after her boss at the local café or dreaming about grilled cheese sandwiches every night. Before Mara knows it, things are spinning wildly out of control....

Vegan Virgin Valentine is the gripping story of an overachiever who learns to get over it and get a life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mara Valentine, who is headed to Yale, is vying with her ex-boyfriend for valedictorian. Enter wild relative V, a junior, who moves in with Mara's family. "There are some hilarious moments here," according to PW. Ages 14-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Brainiacs Mara and Travis had been their high school's "it" couple, but after having been dumped online for greener pastures, Mara faces both pain and empty hours. For assuagement and distraction, she single-mindedly pursues academic and personal perfection, but her intense, rigorous choices ironically heighten her focus on Travis's actions while separating her from friends and normal lifestyle. Accepted early by Yale, Mara's remaining goal is to trample Travis for valedictorian. Her focus is interrupted when her older vagabond sister, Aimee, flits to Costa Rica, and Aimee's daughter V, who is a year younger than Mara, arrives. V is Mara's polar opposite, but her promiscuous, wild-child ways are also derived from pain and resentment, albeit toward Aimee and their peripatetic lifestyle. Initially the girls clash, but as their relationship deepens, each assumes the other's persona. Mara eases up on studying, dumps her vegan diet, reconnects with friends, and begins a mature, sexual relationship. V straightens up, gives a show-stopping performance in the school play, and prepares for the SATs. Both girls-especially V-change lifestyles too quickly, but each begins settling into her true personality. The ending feels implausible as Mara, having earned valedictorian, decides to skip graduation. V persuades her to attend, but thoughtful and conscientious Mara's action seems as unlikely as V's refusal to consider Mara's absence. Racily narrated by likeable Mara, this fast-paced coming-of-age story is charged with sarcasm, angst, honesty, and hope. Many teen girls will recognize parts of themselves within its pages. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broadgeneral YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Candlewick, 256p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Lisa A. Hazlett
Mara Valentine has it together; she is a straight-A senior, a vegan, and a perfectionist. She is in a duel-to-the-final-GPA race with her ex-boyfriend for the coveted valedictorian spot, has been accepted at Yale, and is ready to leave home and high school in glory. "The first thing V did upon arriving in Brockport was fool around with my ex-boyfriend," a reference to Vivienne Vail Valentine, Mara's niece through an estranged older sister, who comes to spend a semester of her junior year with the family. That first tantalizing line in the novel spells the end of Mara's rigid control of her life as she narrates her own tale of learning more than school offers and growing up in ways she never imagined. V has spent her life without supervision; her flirting, flaunting, and flippant attitude drive Mara batty. A potential new romance with her hunky boss and doubts about her vegetarianism add to the chaos in a breezy, humorous, and revealing novel, as Mara finally gets a clue and comes to grips with the real world. 2004, Candlewick Press, 228 pp., Ages young adult.
—Judith Hayn
Children's Literature
Mara Valentine is a straight-A high school senior with early acceptance to Yale who tries to walk the straight and narrow in everything she does—including dating and eating. Enter her slutty, boyfriend-stealing, pot-smoking sixteen-year-old niece known simply as V. Vivienne Vail Valentine is moving in to spend the school year because her single mother, Mara's 35-year-old sister, is off to pursue her own immature dreams. Trouble begins almost as soon as V gets off the plane. Not a first book for author Carolyn Mackler, she exhibits a grasp of the demeanor and language of many of today's teens as well as their propensity for use of the "F" word. The latter makes the storyline more believable, but certainly not more commendable. Written in the first person, the dialogue is delivered in a quick paced, gum-chewing manner. The story lightly explores Mara's maturation process as she takes a look at the person she is becoming and chooses to make changes for the better. Thankfully, V eventually learns to make a few right choices as well. The book may be a popular easy read for many young girls looking for a mildly entertaining treatment of today's challenges of growing up. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 12 to 14.
—Francine Thomas
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Overachieving high school senior Mara Valentine's drive stems from the belief that she is her parents' "Only Hope"; her 35-year-old sister has achieved nothing but having a daughter, V, who is only a year younger than Mara and appears to be a "nicotine-addicted nympho." Sport for Mara is competing with her ex-boyfriend for class valedictorian; she has been accepted early decision to Yale. Mara is a sharp, interesting narrator, but she has alienated most of her friends with her rigid, single-minded attitudes. Her life is thrown into chaos when V comes to live with the family, and provides multiple shades of gray in Mara's black-and-white world. She makes out with Mara's ex on the first day of school and constantly makes cutting, but frighteningly accurate, comments about the limitations of her aunt's life plans. In the midst of this chaos, while working part-time at a local cafe, Mara falls in love with her 22-year-old boss who hasn't gone to college and is forced to reassess the goals that V has already called into question. The romance is believable, as is the tension between Mara and V, although both situations resolve smoothly and somewhat quickly. This is a fast, often humorous read with some meat but no bite (although Mara does lose her virginity)-just the universal theme of growing up and figuring out what's important. This title will have strong appeal for teens grappling with these same questions.-Karyn N. Silverman, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
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Read an Excerpt

Vegan Virgin Valentine

By Carolyn Mackler


Copyright © 2006

Carolyn Mackler

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0763626139

My mom must have read my mind. "No vegan options?"

I nodded. "It's so annoying."

"Do you ever think about not eating vegan?"

I shook my head. "I don't think I'll ever eat meat again. Eggs still gross me out, too."

"So you think about dairy?"

"Cheese," I said. "I think about cheese sometimes."

Talk about understatements! I CRAVE cheese. I LUST after cheese. I DREAM about cheese.

"You know, Mara," my mom said, "sometimes we make decisions about our life and they feel like the right decision at the time. No, they are the right decision at the time. But that doesn't mean they'll be the right decision forever. And you know what I've realized as I've gotten older? There isn't a definite right and wrong anyway. Sometimes we do what seems wrong, but we have good reasons for doing it, so it's not wrong after all."

I think she was referring to the whole vegan thing, but as she spoke, something else was flooding my brain. No, not something. Someone. Someone with a chestnut ponytail and an easy smile and a hole in the thigh of his faded jeans. Someone who would not leave my thoughts no matter how many times I tried to evict him.


VEGAN VIRGIN VALENTINE by Carolyn Mackler. Copyright (c) 2006 by Carolyn Mackler. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.


Excerpted from Vegan Virgin Valentine
by Carolyn Mackler
Copyright © 2006 by Carolyn Mackler.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Carolyn Mackler is the author of the acclaimed THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS. Of VEGAN VIRGIN VALENTINE, she says, "Mara Valentine first came to me in a short story. I loved how she was so rigid but at the same time hungering to break out. And V goes back about ten years, when I met these two girls who were aunt and niece. They've always stuck with me. Imagine how wild it would be to have an aunt and a niece the same age! What if they were total opposites? I knew that V was exactly what Mara needed to shake up the status quo."

From the Hardcover edition.

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Vegan Virgin Valentine 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mara Valentine is an amazing character who changes and matures a lot during this book. This is a great story, especially for younger readers who enjoy romantic comedy.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
Myself being a vegan....I ran across this book, Vegan Virgin Valentine, every time I did a vegan book search. So one day I said what the heck and bought the book. I am not disappointed! It's about Mara Valentine who is an overachieving straight A high school senior who is a vegan. She dreams about cheese every night. She has already been accepted to Yale and is taking college courses on top of her high school work. Her main goal is to be valedictorian at her graduation. Then things start to fall apart. Enter V Valentine, Mara's 16 year old niece. V moves in with the Valentines while her own mother is out wandering the globe looking for.....something. V is the polar opposite of Mara. She's a slut, a stoner and she gets bad grades. And to top it all off...she doesn't do any extracurricular activities. So it pretty much goes without saying that Mara and V are at each others throats from the get go. Partway through the book they start to rub off on each other. Mara falls in love with her 22 year old boss who owns the coffee shop she works at, drops some of her college courses she was planning on taking in the summer and she realizes that there is more to life than being valedictorian. V gets the starring role in the school musical, quits smoking cigarettes and gives some serious thought to college. Vegan Virgin Valentine is about being comfortable in your own skin and doing what feels right for you and only you. Mara learns to let go and loosen up, realizing on the way that being successful is relative. This is teen lit and it did get a little sappy in parts, a little too sweet but I really enjoyed reading this novel from Carolyn Mackler. Now I'll have to go pick up the sequel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love love love this book it's so good I'm glad she met James and her and Claudia are friends agan everything worked out fine. I hope she made it to her graduation. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book pulls you in with the preview part of the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
Vegan Virgin Valentine is a super book about a high school senior, Mara, who has only a few months left before she is off to Yale and graduates high school. But she really learns in that time to make her own path and to let loose once in a while, and that is due to her niece V. I love how Mara is a vegan, but she secretly dreams of griled cheese sandwiches. Those dreams and the ones she has of her boss are the funniest ones she has. This is a perfect book for anyone and it really has a good message of learning to let loose once in a while and chart your own path.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Vegan Virgin Valentine, Carolyn Mackler perfectly describes the issues of a modern day teenager. It's difficult to put down with the constant tension that's built throughout the book. Using youthful writing, Mackler creates a practical and realistic protagonist. Mara Valentine only has a few months to overcome several new obstacles. Mara is an overachieving, straight A senior. With Yale right around the corner, she starts making decisions for herself. Throughout this book, Mara discovers many things about her family, romance, and herself. She decides to get over it and get a life. Although this is an interesting book, it's not full of excitement. At points the narrator can drag on, but it's well worth finishing. I'd highly recommend Vegan Virgin Valentine to high school girls countrywide; whether uptight and nerdy or just living life. On a scale of one to ten, this book is a solid nine.
TheRenesmee69 More than 1 year ago
This is a really great book. Mara Valentine is an overachiever who learns how to roll with the punches and live life without stressing over absolutely everything. She is a straight A student and competing with her womanizing ex-boyfriend Travis Hart for Valedictorian. With her 16 year old Niece V home she has just one more struggle to go through. i loved this book, Mara reminds me a lot about myself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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aj95 More than 1 year ago
This book is sooo good. I was able to finish in two days, I couldn't put it down! It's about Mara Valentine who is a serious strait- A student. During the second half of her senior year her niece, V comes to live with her and her parents while her mother goes to Costa Rica (there were no English speaking schools). V and Mara have completely opposite personalities. Mara is goody-goody all around involved model student, while V is an outspoken, more of a loose cannon. Throughout the story they both take certain qualities from each other. Mara learns to let loose, not concentrate so much on grades and even fall in love with her boss James and learns that though grades are important they can't be your whole life and to enjoy herself. V learns that she can't be constantly with guys and has to take on some responsibility. Though they were quick to judge one another for their differences they really learn that they could learn from one another. Vegan Virgin Valentine is a really good story about letting go and it's funny too. I also like the aspect of Mara and James's relationship. I think all kinds of people will enjoy this funny but at times insightful book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was the best book i have ever read. I loved it in the beginning it was great it caught my attention I have never had a book suck me in so much in my life. If you like books about what is going in high school this are the book for you. It's about a girl who her niece comes to live with her and she starts to cause problems. In the end she becomes closer to her niece and she wants to spend time with her and she doesn't go to college in the summer she stays and spends the summer with her niece. Timber creek Highschool Ashley Appleby
StefanieK More than 1 year ago
I'll get straight to the point: this book was awesome! From chapter one, I was hooked. It's funny, romantic, and just a great teen read. The characters and situations are realistic, too. I read this book when I was 13, but I didn't think it was inappropriate at all. Sure, it had its sappy parts, but if you're mature, you can handle it! :)
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