This Girl is Different
By JJ Johnson
Source: Peachtree Publishers; NetGalley
Publication: April 1, 2011
This girl is different… That’s what Evie has always told herself—and it’s true. Home-schooled by her counter culture mom, she’s decided to see what high school is like for the first time—for her senior year. And what a year it is.
As it turns out, it’s not just Evie who’s Different. Lots of people are. Many of her assumptions about others are turned on their heads as she makes friends with kids her own age for the first time, discovers what’s good and what’s bad about high school, and learns lessons about power and its abuse—both by the administration and by Evie herself.
How can wordlessness be so damned loud?
This novel is different. I’ve never stumbled upon such an original and interesting story with a unique girl as the protagonist. It’s definitely something that I will remember for a long time.
We start out with Evie -- a homeschooled, strong-minded, brave girl who lives with her mom in a geodesic home they made themselves. She meets Rajas and Jacinda in the woods before school starts and there is an instant friendly atmosphere. Then Evie madly obsesses about Rajas. The first day of school arrives and it’s not what Evie expected. Taking account of her first day, she decides to bring about issues regarding school policies and ends up wreaking havoc in school. While she’s standing up for what she believes in, she realizes her relationships and her chance to go to Cornell are on the line. Now it’s up to Evie to do what is right and bring up the courage to face what she has caused.
The beginning sparked some interest in me since Evie has a smart, compelling voice. Her opinions are well expressed and the writing is brilliant. I admired her willingness and boldness to stay true to herself, to the different aspect of her that makes her distinguishable from others. Though sometimes irritating, Evie’s views will make you think out loud. She stands her ground at all times and she truly believes in speaking out. But when you’re at a school, there are certain limits. As the principal of the school, Dr. Folger, said, “Is there harm in speaking out? Yes, and no. I value freedom of expression. However, I also believe that such freedom comes with responsibility. They are two sides of the same coin, shall we say.”
The characters were fun to get to know. Evie has a different, easy-going, relationship with her mom, who she doesn’t call “Mom” but instead calls her by her first name, “Martha”. Good humour and support comes from her and is always by Evie’s side. The principal, Dr. Folger, is the same as well and he’s probably my most favourite, oddly enough. Rajas and Jacinda I liked a lot in the beginning but as the story progressed, I didn’t like them so much anymore, but that’s for you to find out.
Overall, it was a mixed feelings sort of book. I did enjoy it in the end although a few things went unresolved. I will, however, keep an eye out for JJ Johnson for refreshing novels such as this.
*Thank you to Peachtree Publishers for providing an e-book copy!