I’m not that kind of girl! And what exactly “kind of girl” is that? This was the very first question I thought to myself as I grabbed this book off the shelf. Vivian Siobhan really captivates the attention of the reader with just the title alone and the title combined with the cover of a young man and woman leaning in for a kiss is genius. The cover offers a sexual connotation which is sure to pique the interest of readers.
Setting: Ross Academy
- Natalie Sterling (protagonist)
- Spencer Biddle (antagonist)
- Mike Domski
- Ms. Bee
Conflict in the book:
- Rocky friendships
- Peer Pressure
- Double Standards
The story is narrated by the main character (protagonist), preppy goody two shoes, Natalie Sterling. She is a stickler for rules and image but most importantly, reputation. Her reputation along with the reputation of her best friend Natalie, and her young irresponsible freshman leader of the Rossitutes antagonist, Spencer, is of the utmost important to her.
The story takes place in Ross Academy, a private school where the dean and teacher are strict and believe in enforcing rules and disciplines.
Natalie approaches her senior year and robustly throws herself into academics forgoing most social activities. She’s the extra-curricular, volunteering, overachieving saint. She vows to herself that this year will be her year and will not allow anything to stand in the way of that, including her best friend Autumn, and Connor, regardless of how cute he is. She had things to do, events to plan, colleges to apply for, etc. Why waste her senior year on a boy, especially one like Connor Hughes? She had to stay focused and maintain her tunnel vision. She wouldn’t anyone or anything knock her off track. She prided herself on overachieving so when her life spirals out of control during her senior year, who does she have to call on to get her back on track?
Autumn, who was the victim of a malicious rumor started by her boyfriend that ruined her freshman year at Ross Academy, is protected most of the time by her BFF, Natalie. Natalie was the only one soul that didn’t participate in the corporate insults. Dont’ get me wrong, Autumn was grateful for her loyalty, but it was years ago so why on Earth couldn’t Natalie let it go? She was perfectly capable of taking care of herself even if Natalie didn’t believe it. What Natalie didn’t want Autumn to know was, she was a loner, a social zero, and had no one else to hang out with. And to think, after all Natalie has done for Autumn, Autumn now all of a sudden decides she wants to hang out with other people and explore other options. Why couldn’t Autumn see that Natalie only wanted what was best for her and was willing to go the extra mile to make sure she got it. Isn’t that what best friends are for? Natalie faces her first challenge as an almost adult as she and her best friend hit rocky grounds.
As if dealing with and protecting Autumn wasn’t enough, Natalie found herself attempting to become a Mother Hen and guide freshman Spencer Biddle under her wing. Spencer is a little hot to trot and goes against everything Natalie believes in. Maybe Natalie felt an obligation to train Spencer and groom her because she used to babysit Spencer years ago. Whatever the reason for it was, Spencer was over it and well on her way to making a name for herself. She was a rebel and refused to live in the shadow of little miss perfect Natalie. Spencer becomes the leader of the Rosstitutes, a group of “hot in the pants” freshmen that sets Natalie’s patience on fire. Why did Spencer have to be so sexual? Natalie attempts to show Spencer “how to be a lady” but what if Spencer didn’t want to be a lady? Sure, Natalie was a saint but what if Spencer wanted to be a slut? In Natalie’s attempt to save Spencer from the same embarrassment that Autumn endured, she realizes that although she wishes to save the world, everyone can’t be saved. But when Natalie faces a dilemma with Connor she never experienced before, she can’t help but seek advice from Spencer, the slut extraordinaire. Tables sure do have a way of turning.
Natalie never experienced interaction from someone of the opposite sex. So how was it possible for her to even be thinking about Connor Hughes? First of all he was completely out of her league and best buds with her arch enemy in Student Government Council election, Mike Domski. And although he was the cutest quarterback on the football team and maybe never even noticed her, when she and Autumn hit a rough patch, she had nowhere else to turn. He was there for her but she questioned everything with him. Why was she even thinking of him? Did he think of her? Would he be worth her reputation? And why was she willing to go against everything she believed in for him?
The characterization of this story was strategically organized and appropriately represented most women in the Young Adult population. Like Natalie, women want to be represented with class and dignity but also like Spencer, women want to be allowed to be in touch with their sensuality and sexuality without being victimized.
Natalie easily becomes the character you love to hate. Maybe because she is relate-able. She is controlling and careful, young, and inexperienced but deep in heart desires to live life on the edge. The life I believe we all lived as a high school teenage girl. She is self centered and at times inconsiderate but her heart is pure and innocent. I mean, she really does mean well. Yeah, she talks out of turn and possess unrealistic and flawed “good girl” point of views, but cut her a break, she’s young.
The supportive characters or secondary characters provide the plot and Natalie with a good balance. They allow you to see the “real world” outside of Natalie’s “perfect world” narration. They are strongly and well developed characters that represent different views of people that are routinely encountered. They also reveal that Natalie is the only character that is really “out of touch” with reality.
This book is a success, I believe due to believable characters, relate-able plots, and the ability to think like a teen. Even as an adult, while reading this book, I was able to immediately sympathize with Autumn, understand Spencer, and relate to Natalie. It’s an easy read that uses language and descriptions that paint a picture of the setting and places you smack dab in the middle of the book. The ending did however, catch me off guard and I really wished things would have ended differently.
Overall, I’m Not That Kind Of Girl, is definitely placed on my list of books to read. Grab it during the summer, it’s full of fun and flirty material. It’s definitely a book to enjoy.